Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend wrapup: Answering my own question, and Y2J is a genius

So, last week I asked for some of you Hoop Dawg experts to help me understand why the team fell so far so fast. I got NO help from any of you, but since then I've watched a couple of games and I think I have it figured out: absolutely zero inside presence, and inconsistent scoring outside of KCP, who is certainly extremely talented offensively but has a LONG way to go defensively.

Does that about cover it?

We did finally get an SEC win last week, but I honestly don't see very many more in our future...I hope I'm wrong. Maybe Marcus Thornton can work himself back into shape and provide some strength inside, maybe Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware can recapture some past magic, maybe KCP will learn quickly what it takes to play defense at an SEC level....but that's a lot to ask in a very short period of time. And then Robinson and Ware are both seniors...I'm starting to get depressed.

Moving on...

 - Finished up the last couple of comedies from the Wednesday/Thursday Comedy DVR Extravaganza.

First the bad news...The Office continues to demonstrate that the writing staff has gone completely off the rails since the departure of Michael Scott. I don't think I laughed a single time at this last episode, and I don't know what the point of the episode was. I'm all for the uncomfortable darker humor that the show sometimes goes for..."Dinner Party" (in which Jim, Pam, Andy, Angela, Dwight, and Dwight's former nanny have a remarkably uncomfortable dinner at Michael and Jan's condo) is probably my favorite Office episode ever. The difference between then and now is that the reason that episode worked so well is that the writing staff had such a firm grasp of who these characters were and how they worked. Now...I don't think anybody has any idea of what the thread is.

For example...I feel like they are trying to make Andy and Erin the new Jim and Pam (since they have completely murdered the Jim/Pam characters, who used to be the heart and soul of the show). But the whole storyline feels rushed, especially this other woman whom Andy is not only dating all of a sudden, but is apparently ready to marry. I can't for the life of me even tell you this woman's NAME, much less anything about her or her relationship with Andy. Why should I care?

And the problem isn't just with that storyline...Dwight, Kevin, Ryan, Stanley, seems that every single character, with the possible exception of Creed, has become problematic in their inconsistent characterization. Kevin, in particular, is barely recognizable as the guy who could conceivably win a World Series of Poker bracelet.

None of that would be as big a problem if the show was actually still funny....sadly, they can't even pull that off anymore.

On the other hand, Up All Night continues to just be a really fun half hour every week. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate have created a couple that just feels EXTREMELY realistic to me....almost every story that they do feels really familiar. This week's story about trying to watch a TV series together, and how it becomes this "project" that you are working on together, and going to sleep every time you try to start it, etc...I've LIVED that. And I am perfectly happy with Megan Mulally fulfilling her destiny of guest starring on every single comedy I watch...she was fantastic, as usual.

Anyway, it's not super ambitious (like Community), and it's not as polished and at the top of its game (like Parks and Rec), but it's certainly a show that I look forward to every week.

 - Two other shows I watched this weekend are both heading towards the end of their runs (I think) of them for sure, and one of them increasingly likely.

Chuck aired its penultimate episode last week, with only the two hour finale left on the docket. As usual with this show, I am thoroughly enjoying the ride. We all know where the Chuck and Sarah story is most likely headed...I don't think this is the type of show that is going to pull the rug out from under their viewers with anything less than a happy ending for those two. But they are doing a fairly decent job putting up believable roadblocks in their path...although I'm not COMPLETELY happy with Sarah being in "damsel in distress" mode the way she was this week. Hopefully this week will see her back to her butt-kicking ways, with or without the Intersect. In fact, I was sort of hoping that last week's episode was going to involve more of her doing all of these Intersect-aided amazing things, only for Chuck to just assume that it was just her being awesome as usual.

And if that was the last hurrah of Jeffster, what a great way for them to go out. Great stuff all around.

Also...Alan Sepinwall is running a five part interview with Josh Schwarz and Chris Fedak, the co-creators and show runners. Part one is HERE, and if you're a fan of the show I encourage you to go check out the rest as the week goes on. It's a typical great interview from Alan, and a fitting farewell to the show. It's also funny to see the pictures of Chuck and Sarah from the early days of the show...we've come a long way, baby.

As for Fringe, my feelings about this season continue to be mixed. I'm enjoying many of the things the show is doing this season...last week was another strong episode in a series of them, from a storytelling perspective, and the acting is always top notch. But I'm really struggling with the idea that these are not really the characters we have been watching for the life of the show to this point. Whether they exist in a different universe/timeline, or they are in the same universe that we have been watching but "changed" due to what happened with Peter, they don't feel like "our" Olivia, Walter, etc.

And it could be that all of that will be resolved by where the writers are taking wouldn't surprise me if by the end of this season, everything has been put "right" somehow. And if this wasn't probably the last season of the show, that wouldn't be so bad. But, based on the ratings and the high cost of the show, I think it probably IS the last season...which means that we will have spent much of the last season of the show with someone OTHER than the characters we have been watching from the beginning. And that is very frustrating and sad to me.

Still one of the best shows on television...I just hope we don't look back on this as a wasted last season.

 - As long time readers of the blog (or long time knowers of me) know, I have been a wrestling fan almost my entire life. I am not a rabid fan at all fandom at this point just consists of me occasionally checking out some of the wrestling websites/blogs and checking out what is going on with the shows, which will sometime lead to me checking out a particular storyline/match if it piques my interest. I got caught up in the Summer of Punk last summer, for instance, and I was intrigued to start reading rumors that Chris Jericho (one of my all time favorites) may be making a comeback.

Well, he did...and, seriously, the guy is a genius when it comes to this business. What he has done since he came back is some truly Kauffman level stuff.

First, there was this...his big comeback on Raw three weeks ago, in which he somehow had the crowd chanting his name and going crazy when he first made his appearance, and then making a COMPLETE heel turn 5-6 minutes later...without ever saying a word.

And then, the next week, he returns...only he is so "overcome" that he once again leaves without saying a word...

And then LAST week, he finally gets into the ring, as part of a big 6-man tag main event....only to pull THIS:

I love it, and I will be checking out Raw every week for the foreseeable future to see what comes next.


Well, I'm not watching anything...instead, we spent the evening welcoming the latest member of the Grantham family. Introducing, my new nephew...Jackson Reagan Grantham (or, as his uncle will be calling him, Jax)

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