How I Met Your Mother – Season 3, Episode 4 – Little Boys

October 17, 2007

I didn’t love last week but this week the show was back in fine form.  More and more I see the comparisons in tone to Friends in its prime and am truly mystified why this show isn’t as huge a hit.

The show started great with a fun group scene discussing the “but” related to the blind fix-up and highlighted one of the real truisms in life – we all have a “but”, although in this case it focused on Robin’s issues.  I’m still amazed what this show gets away with at 8:00, on CBS of all networks, with one of the best uses of the “shotgun” call ever.  I’m still laughing.

For Robin the “but” with her fix-up was that her date has a son and as we fans know, Robin never wants to have kids.  In her own words she preferred to be the cougar chasing the son later in life than meet him as a little kid.  She also didn’t seem to realize that getting full custody is a win.  As much as it was entertaining watching Robin make friends with a kid, try to break up with a kid and ultimately get dumped by a kid, the best part was the flash forward conclusion.  There isn’t another show that so deftly balances the humour with the “warm and fuzzy” moments and this week’s look at Aunt Robin’s ultimate success with Ted’s kids did so successfully.

The parallel story had Ted and Barney competing for who has the best “game” with Marshall excluded because he won the woman’s league version of the dating game by getting married.  The competition to get the girl started feeling a little too familiar but definitely had some good twists.  Barney pretending that he had slept with her and using the image of him as Sir Edmund Hilary with Ted as the second guy up Everest was pure genius.  Ted was so freaked about going where Barney has been that he ultimately had to dump her leaving her wide open for Barney could move in.  Unfortunately for Barney she wanted to take it slow leaving him with her mean Reggae skills, a dancing Ted and a bet that neither of them won.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B+


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


Avi’s Fall Preview 2007 – Monday Night

September 12, 2007

Wow! Is Monday just packed with TV goodness.  Here’s my network by network, show by show breakdown of what I plan to watch on Mondays:

ABC

9:30 – 10:00 – Samantha Who? – A great cast of  likable TV veterans including Kelly Bundy, Barry Watson, Jean Smart and Jennifer Esposito and a pretty neat concept of a horrible person who gets amnesia and tries to change her life makes this show sound promising.  I’m not sure there’s enough meat on the show to last a few seasons but given its pedigree I’m definitely going to give it a try.  (Starting October 15th)

CBS
8:00 – 8:30 – How I Met Your Mother – One of the best sitcoms on TV.  Rather than go into detail of my love for all things Robin Sparkles I’m going to paraphrase this from Entertainment Weekly’s article that I think perfectly captures the awesomeness of this true mash-up show:

The chummy New Yorkers of Friends, hanging out in the bar from Cheers .  The experimental structure of The Office with the comfort of a laugh track.  The pop culture references of Gilmore Girls and the random in-jokes of Arrested Development.  The sweetness of The Wonder Years and the overstuffed pace of Seinfeld and The Simpsons.  Even a mystery for the Lost fans.

On top of that one of the best ensemble casts on the airwaves.  If you haven’t watched go rent seasons 1 & 2 and get ready for some great slap bat sessions.  (Starting Sept. 24)

8:30 – 9:00 The Big Bang Theory – I stopped paying attention when I saw it was from Chuck Lorre the creator of Two and a Half Men.  Nerds living next to a hot girl.  It’s getting some good reviews even from people I know hate 2 1/2 but I’m on the fence whether to give it even a single viewing.   I guess I’ll decide on September 24th.

NBC

8:00 – 9:00 Chuck – This show has gotten great buzz from the critics so I’m going to have to give it a try.  The premise as it reads – computer geek downloads government secrets into his brain and is chased by bad guys – sounds incredibly silly but so did university student turns spy (Alias) and high school girl solves mysteries (Veronica Mars).  I read the show was very well received by my fellow comic geeks in San Diego so I’m going to definitely check it out. (Starts Sept. 24)

9:00 – 10:00 Heroes – One of the standout shows from last season and I expect great things from the new season and new cast member Kristin Bell.   (Starts Sept. 24)

10:00 – 11:00 Journeyman – I liked Vorenus’s understatedness in Rome and it will be interesting seeing him carry this story of a time traveller solving Quantum Leap like problems but within a larger story arc.  It’s a good fit with Heroes and compared to the other Monday at 10:00 shows like CSI Miami (yuck) or the Bachelor (bigger yuck) it’s a no brainer which one wins the time slot for me.  (Starts Sept. 24)

Fox

8:00 – 9:00 Prison Break – I pretty much decided at the end of last season that the show had gotten way too stupid and gone on far longer than the premise should allow.  This year they’re in a Panama jail and I’m not sure I care if they stay there for ever.  Still, I’m this invested I have to watch at least a couple of episodes to see if it can recapture some of the fun of the first season.  But 2 episodes to change my mind is more than generous.  (Starts Sept. 17)

9:00 – 10:00 K-Ville – As much as I don’t think I need to watch another cop show, this one stars Anthony Anderson who was just fantastic on The Shield and takes place in New Orleans after Katrina.  It may be a bit too real for some viewers (it films on location) and frankly may be difficult to watch at times but I applaud the creators for ignoring controversary to tell stories in a town that 2 years later has fallen off the front page but still is dealing with the aftermath of the diaster. (Starts Sept. 17)

The CW

8:00 – 8:30 Everybody Hates Chris – I’m still behind in this show and haven’t seen most of season 2 but I do recommend it.  (Starts Oct. 1)

8:30 – 9:00 Aliens in America – Family with geeky son takes in an exchange student from Pakistan and hilarity ensues.  It isn’t the show that instantly jumps out for me but the early pilot I saw (before they recast the father role) actually was pretty entertaining with a mixture of laughs and sweetness.  The lead, Justin, is just great as is the mother who I instantly remembered from Caroline in the City.  I’m not sure the enjoyment will endure but it gets at least a few viewings in my schedule.  (Starts Oct. 1)

Bottom Line:

Here’s what I’m going to be watching:

8:00 – 9:00 – Chuck

9:00 – 10:00 – Heroes

10:00 – 11:00 – Journeyman

11:00 – 11:30 How I Met Your Mother

I’m going to record: Samantha Who?, Prison Break, K-Ville, Everybody Hates Chris and Aliens in America

I’m on the fence about The Big Bang Theory.

I absolutely will not be watching:  Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor, 2 1/2 Men, Rules of Engagement, CSI: Miami, Girlfriends or The Game.


What Show Will You Save? An E! Online Poll

March 30, 2007

E!Online is running a poll asking people to vote on the one show they would save from a list of programs that are “on the bubble”.  According to Ain’t it Cool News the show that has received the most votes the last five years running has been renewed.

Of the 17 shows on the list there are 5 that I’m pulling for: 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs and Veronica Mars.  But according to the rules I can only choose one.  Last year my vote would have gone to Veronica Mars hands down but this year I have to vote for Friday Night Lights, especially after watching last night’s amazing hour  It’s not that I don’t want the rest to make it but rules are rules.

Click here to vote for your favourite and feel free to comment below and let me know your pick.


How I Met Your Mother – Season 2, Episode 10 – Single Stamina

December 4, 2006

I’ve written many times about my love for this show but this week my enjoyment reached a new high.  If you haven’t seen this video of Barney and Marshall singing Confrontation from Les Miserables go watch and then come back to read my review of this episode.  As a die hard Les Miz fan who thinks seeing any other play is a waste of money, seeing the cast of one of my favourite shows knock this out of the park was in the words of Barney, legendary.

Now on to the review.  This week’s episode was another classic as we’re introduced to Barney’s black, gay brother James who comes to town just in time to save the 5th wheel of our show from becoming another of the old people in the Willy Wonka movie.   But James is keeping a secret from his brother – he’s sitting down, he’s not hitting on guys and he’s texting in the corner – he’s in a relationship.

Barney doesn’t take it well and after seeing the scenes of the 2 of them as each other’s wingman it’s hard to blame him.  I loved his rant about gay culture being a leading indicator of people’s behaviour and how gay marriage will lead other people to want to be in relationships which will spoil Barney’s ability to be legendary.  Hard not to hear this and think of Neil Patrick Harris’s recent coming out, which only made this all the more brilliant.  Great to see Barney come around in the end after finding out he’s going to be an uncle.

Also, really enjoyed the men vs. women discussion between Ted-Marshall and Robin-Lily on the meat market culture of dating and how the role reversal played out.

The only question I was left with at the end is whether the show meant for us to know that surprisingly Ted and Robin would still be together a year later and not so surprisingly Lily and Marshall would be married.  I hope so.  Not that I regard continuity to be that important in a sitcom but I would be much happier to know that it’s not a mistake.

Bottom line, another brilliant episode.

Avi’s Episode Rating: A+


How I Met Your Mother – Season 2, Episode 9 – Slap Bet

November 22, 2006

Before I start my review I need to up front state that as a Canadian it may be hard to keep my bias in check.  Now that I have that off my chest, I loved this episode.  This week we find out that Robin has a mall phobia and everyone has an opinion on what the secret reason is.  Marshall thinks its a secret marriage while Barney is sure she was a Canadian porn star and the only way to settle it definitively is with a slap bet judged by the one and only slap bet commissioner.  In between lies about Canadian husbands running off to Hong Kong, tricky laweryering, some legal research and lots of Canadian accent “ouwt and abouwt” and “eh” jokes we also get some great slaps.

But all of this is just building to the greatest ending of any sitcom in recent memory – a true homage to Canada’s favourite 80’s mall pop celebrity, Alanis (yes, she that was to become Alanis Morrisette).  Robin’s secret is that she was once Robin Sparkles mall pop star extraodinaire and like Barney I could watch her video again and again.  Go to CBS.com and you can too.  In the meantime here’s a transcription of the song from TV Guide’s Michelle Heller.

Let’s go to the mall, everybody, ha. Go!
Come on Jessica, come on Tori
Let’s go to the mall,
You won’t be soh-ry.
Put on your jelly bracelets
And your cool graffiti coat.
Having fun at the mall
Is what it’s all a-boot.

I haven’t done my homework yet
(That’s OK!)
And you know how my parents get.
(Whatever)
But I don’t care
‘Cause all my friends are gonna be there.

Everybody come and play.
Throw every last care away.
Let’s go to the mall (giggle) today.
[Indecipherable]

There’s this boy I like.
Met him at the food court.
He’s got hair like Gretzsky
And he does jumps on his skateboard.
I hope he asks me out.
Takes me to my favorite spot.
It’ll be just him and me.
(But don’t forget the robot.)

Dad says I’m too young to date
But baby I don’t want to wait.
That’s OK, I’m gonna rock your body anyway.
I’m gonna rock your body till Canada Day.

Repeat chorus

Rap:
I went to the mall with a couple of friends.
I had a whole week’s allowance to spend.
I want hoop earrings and a Benetton shirt.
I came here to shop and I came here to flirt.

I turned around and who should I see
But Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
He said, “Young lady, I don’t approve”
So I had to get down and bust [totally indecipherable].

Avi’s Episode Rating: A+


How I Met Your Mother – Season 2, Episode 7

November 8, 2006

I haven’t been reviewing this show as much as I would like.  If I had been writing about it every episode this season would have been given an A or A-.  Every week this show has made me laugh out loud multiple times and in particular I’d like to single out the episodes where Lily moved in with Barney and the one focusing on Ted’s architect job as particularly funny.  Unfortunately this week’s episode was the worst this season measured by the few laughs I had.  It started out well enough with a good rip on Friends and the use of a coffee house as a meeting place over a bar.  It also had not 1, not 2 but 3 former Joss Whedon characters (Lily/ Willow, Crazy Eyes Chloe/ Inara and unamed coffee guy/ Andrew the Nerd of Doom).  Marshall and Lily even got back together.  But none of these were enough to save this episode which seemed more focused on calling Barney – Swarley 30 times instead of writing new jokes.  If I sound disappointed, it’s because I am.  I love this show so I look forward to a better episode next week and it pains me to give this week’s episode….

Avi’s Episode Rating: C+


TV News & Stories from the Web – November 4, 2006

November 5, 2006

Here’s some news from the TV world:

  • Neil Patrick Harris is gay – Doogie Howser/ Barney came out to People this past week.  A year and a half ago I’m not sure this would have made my blog but his Barney character on How I Met Your Mother is one of the best on TV.  He consistently steals every scene he’s in.  I hope this doesn’t impact his ladies-man role on the show.  It sure doesn’t to me.
  • Degrassi the comic book is released – I haven’t really watched Degrassi, The Next Generation but as a Canadian growing up in the 80’s I watched the original quite often.  I’m also a comic fan and like the writerJ Torres’s work (I recommend the Copybook Tales) so I definitely think this is worth giving a shout out to.  Also check out the Battlestar Galactica comic from Dynamite Publishing which is also quite good.
  • Picket Fences is being released on DVD  – This is one of my favourite shows and I’m excited to see it being released in February 2007.  I’ll definitely be picking it up.
  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is released to pretty good reviews – I’ve linked to Entertainment Weekly’s review which gives the movie an A-.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing this movie.  I think The AliG Show is hilarious and can’t wait to go.

Capsule Reviews

October 4, 2006

Kidnapped – Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2

I finally got around to watching the first 2 episodes of this new series and I loved it.  It looked like a big budget movie and had twists, turns and cliffhangers like the best serials.  Jeremy Sisto is great as the maverick ex-FBI agent who hunts down kidnapped children and has his own traumatic kidnapping experience in his past.   Delroy Lindo brings a new level of coolness to his FBI agent who has an uneasy working relationship with his former mentee, Sisto.  Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany haven’t had much to do yet but I feel their pain as the rich parents of the kidnapped boy.  Besides a great cast, the case is compelling.  After a first episode set-up, the second episode ramped up the action with an attempted kidnapping of the family’s older daughter as well.  It puts Vanished, the other kidnapping show this season, to shame.

What makes me sad is this article where the NBC CEO expressed disappointment with the show’s performance.   I’m worried about whether this show will make it to the end of the season, and hopefully the end of the kidnapping.  If the show doesn’t make it, it will be our loss.

Avi’s episodes rating: A-

How I Met Your Mother – Season 2, Episodes 2 & 3

I’ve liked this show since the beginning but this season I love it.  Next to The Office it is my favourite comedy on the air.  (Yes, that includes My Name is Earl).  The breakup of Marshall and Lilly has been heartbreaking and realistic mostly as a result of their amazing portrayal by Jason Segal and Alison Hannigan.  Last night’s episode with Ted’s parents who got divorced and didn’t tell anyone was an excellent vehicle to explain why in the end Ted doesn’t marry Robin but are able to remain friends.  Josh Radnor’s knowing look at the end of the episode really said it all.

The amazing thing about this show is the way it’s able to balance the melodrama with comedy.  This is the role of Neil Patrick Harris’s career.  He brings an energy to every scene he is in and defines the term scene stealer.  Most important his jokes (and everyone else’s) are laugh out loud funny.  If you haven’t watched this show before, start now.  You won’t be disappointed.

Avi’s Episodes Rating:  A

Prison Break – Season 2, Episodes 6 & 7

I admit that for me this show had been steadily losing its appeal.  I have been asked a number of times recently whether Season 1 was worth purchasing on DVD.  Before Season 2 aired my answer was a definitive yes.  Since then I have reversed my opinion based on the lackluster and, to be frank, really boring season.   A few weeks ago I said I’d wait until the baseball break and then decide.  Basically, I was about 2 episodes away from dropping it from my rotation.  Well, I’ve now seen those 2 episodes and I’m still in.

The last 2 weeks were actually fun to watch.  I think it’s clear what was missing – the interaction between the cons.  The way that they played off each other in season 1 made the show as interesting as the conspiracy and escape plot did.  With the crew back together and the conspiracy plot moving forward, the show was finally back on track.  The one-two punch of last night’s ending with Mahone killing Tweener (is he really part of the overall conspiracy) and Sucre trying to run off with DB Cooper’s money has me looking forward to the show’s return 3 weeks from now.

Avi’s season to date rating: C+

Avi’s Episodes rating for the past 2 weeks – B+


How I Met Your Mother – Season 2, Episode 1

September 20, 2006

Now this is a great sitcom. I actually like every character. This episode continued from last season’s cliffhanger where Robin and Ted got together at the same time that Lilly left Marshall. While Marshall wallows in self pity, Robin and Ted are in the honeymoon phase of their relationship. Lilly is generally absent until the end but most important of all, Barney is still Barney. He is truly the king of awesomeness and makes every scene he is in great.

I know the show has gotten flack for the challenge of its premise particularly the first episode revelation that Ted and Robin don’t get together but I don’t care. As long as each episode has me laughing as hard as this one while simultaneously making me give a crap about what happens to each and every character, I’m going to be watching for a long time.

Avi’s rating: A-