Archive for the ‘Tina Fey’ Category

*Since 666 Park Avenue was the only new show to premiere last week, we’ll also take a quick look at returning favorites that premiered during week 2.

666 Park Avenue (ABC)

The seemingly perfect love child of two recently resurgent TV genres, 666 blends the soft-spooky “horror” (a loosely-defined genre when it comes to television) of hits like American Horror Story, Walking Dead and Grimm with the primetime soap success of fellow ABC sister-show “Revenge.”

While it has neither the delicious fun of Revenge nor the genuine thrills of Walking Dead, 666 manages to pull of a nice cocktail of sexy and scary, infused with the small screen chops of Lost’s Terry O-Quinn and a supporting cast of easy-on-the-eyes recurring characters.

The show focuses on young couple in the big city Jane Van Neen (worst name ever) and Henry, who take over manager duties for luxurious UES apartment complex The Drake after the post’s former occupant runs out the clock on a deal with the devil and is sucked into a sort of hellish wormhole in The Drake’s front door. While it’s never stated explicitly, we understand quickly that O’Quinn is the devil, or some sort of demonic middle man, who strikes deals for peoples souls in exchange for power, fame, beauty and riches.

What the devil wants with our young lovers is unclear, but its certain that something is afoot as O’Quinn casts his sidelong glances and lusting grins while the more-clearvoyant Jane beings receiving visions of warning, seemingly from the building itself.

I don’t think I’d go as far as some critics who have called the show “Devilishly-good fun” but 666 is better than its ratings would suggest. It is extremely well-produced and has a certain je nai se quois that makes for a great 44 minutes. It also dances perfectly on the line of just enough naughty and nice to entice without incurring the wrath of one million moms for its Disney-owned timeslot.

Grade: B+
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30 Rock (NBC)

Season 6 of 30 Rock — despite being a brilliant masterpiece too good for broadcast television audiences — had it’s ups and downs. The plotlines began to feel strained and you could not only see but smell the cold fingers of death inching around the show’s creative throat.

And so we find ourselves in yet another NBC farewell season and if the season opener is any indication, it could be the best 30 Rock we’ve seen since the powerhouse seasons 2 and 3. The premiere fires on all barrels, fast-forwarding us up to speed since the summer hiatus while delivering some of the best laughs we’ve had in a while and also some of the most pointed NBC-jabs we’ve seen. (Jack has decided to intentionally tank the network. “How long has this been going on?” Liz asks. “7, 8 years?” “6 Weeks” he replies. Rim shot. Score).

Like the best things in life, I’ll be sad when 30 Rock is gone but I’ll love watching it walk away.

Grade: A

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Castle (ABC)

When we last saw our dynamic duo, Castle and Beckett were in the throes of passion, having finally confessed their mutual affection.

When we see them in the premiere, they’re STILL in the throes of passion, the morning after Becket turned in her gun and badge and walked (rain-soaked, natch) into Castle’s arms.

Sure, there’s an assassin out to get Becket but that’s end-of-season drama, not beginning-of-season shenanigans, so the writers waste no time dispelling the shadows of seasons past to make room for a few weeks of casual romanticism.

As an episode, not the best, but it does get points for finally giving us what we’ve waited years for (on two different, spoilerific fronts) and not pulling some “Gotcha!” nonsense like an episode of House, Bones or — yes — moonlighting. Casket’s love is here to stay and a new Big Bad (perhaps the Biggest Bad?) should give us plenty to do come May sweeps.

Grade: B

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How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

For being one of my favorite shows on TV, HIMYM sure seems to be running on fumes. The lengths to which the writers will go to NOT introduce the mother have left frustrating for exhausting territory and what used to be clever non-linear plotlines have now digressed into a quagmire of Inception-level complexity where events unfold in flashbacks, flashforwards and flash-sidewayses all simultanesouly.

Seriously guys, just give us the darn mother and let Barney and Robin get married already.

That said, HIMYM is still comedy gold and the lone proof that Multi-cam comedy doesn’t have to be poison. This season is potentially the series’ last, so the expected onslaught of revelations and go-for-broke gimmickry should be a hoot to watch.

Grade: B-

Class: Keep and Eye On


New Girl (Fox)

Oh Schmidt, how I’ve missed you.

2011’s best new comedy (remember when I hated it? Funny how things can change) came back in roaring fashion, giving us the cockneyed adventures of Gladys Night and The Pips (there were 3 Pips, right?) we craved over the summer hiatus.

There’s some plotline about Jess getting fired (who cares) which pales in comparison to the big news of Schmidt having his penis cast removed and holding a re-branding party. The theme is “Danger” and the scene where Schmidt slaps his putrid cast on the kitchen table had me laughing out loud and dry-heaving at the same time. Max Greenfield is a God of physical comedy and all I can say is “Thank you, more please.”

Grade: B+

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Modern Family

I hate to say it but “TV’s Best Comedy” is starting to feel a little rote. The show stopped being groundbreaking a long time ago and has since become thoroughly mired in a pattern of “Introduce conflicts A, B and C; resolve conflicts A, B and C; Grouphug for emotional finish”.

The premiere ties up the loose ends from the finale with a few chuckles (Claire is obsessed about how Gloria’s pregnancy will affect her body) before sweeping through the worlds most awkward fast forward (in the form of a 360-degree shot of Jay and Gloria hugging), bringing us to the “present” where Gloria is showing, Cam and Mitchell are at peace over not getting a baby and Phil has grown a beard (Ty Burrell continues to be pure. bottled. genius).

It’s still great and its unfair to even compare MF to most TV sitcoms but still the bigger you are the harder you fall and I need a little more to keep my appetite wet.

Grade: B-

Class: Subscribe-minus

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The 2012 Emmy Nominations were announced this morning and, once again, its hard to not feel a sense of crushing disappointment topped off with a sprinkle of dread. Besides the fact that excellent programming like Community and Happy Endings was completely overlooked while Kathy Bates gets yet another nomination for a show no one watches (nor should), the Big Four have once again been completely shut out of the drama competitions which means broadcast television is one year closer to its grave. Hold on to Comedy, buddy!

But mostly, my disappointment comes from the utter predictability of the nominations. With the exception of the pleasant and well deserved nod to New Girl’s M.V.P Max Greenfield (pictured above with the same expression I had this morning after reading the noms list) the major categories look like they nominators just recycled last year’s ballots. Yes, EVERYONE in Modern Family is nominated, defeating any chance of lesser-known (and arguably more deserving considering MF’s mediocre season) actors from the comedy genre to break into the pack. Jon Cryer inexplicably is included in the lead actor category (not because he isn’t a lead, but because 2.5 Men is rubbish) and whatever is left goes to big bang theory…again. Even I admit that as wonderful as Tina Fey is, this season of 30 Rock was undeserving of awards attention.

And seriously, I love Don Cheadle but…house of lies? Dear voters, I have 3 words for you: JOEL F***ING MCHALE (not actually his middle name).

I suppose I should give credit where credit is due, the nominators were smart enough to include HBO’s breakout “Girls” AND it’s writer/director/creator/muse Lena Dunham. They also came to their sense and all but excluded “Glee” except for a guest-starring role which, frankly, who cares. The temptation is always there to include shows like Glee as an appeal to the Bieber crowd and I’m glad they were not swayed.

They resisted the temptation to give Hugh Laurie a send-off nomination for House, which is the right decision. I love Hugh Laurie and, at various points during its run, have loved House, but this last season was not one of those points. Laurie, and the show as a whole, looked tired and much like how the BCS SHOULD be, we’re rewarding this year’s season, not every season that came before it.

Community also scored a writing nom, and I submit that if it does not win we Burn This Mother Down!

Other things are just plain ridiculous. “Missing” as a miniseries? There was a little bit of an uproar last year when Downton went the mini-series route but, at the time, it had not been renewed for a second season and was intended as a one-off. Not so with Missing. The Ashley Judd thriller was fully intended to be a multiple-season before it got yanked off the air for failing to even remotely stir the attention of the audience and just failing in almost every measurably way. Apparently we’re rewarding that sort of thing now.

The (for all intents and purposes) full list of nominees:


“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO)
“Girls” (HBO)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“30 Rock” (NBC)
“Veep” (HBO)


Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory”
Larry David as Himself in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan in “House of Lies”
Louis C.K. as Louie in “Louie”
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy in “30 Rock”
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper in “Two and a Half Men”


Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath in “Girls”
Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn in “Mike & Molly”
Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day in “New Girl”
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in “Nurse Jackie”
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in “Parks and Recreation”
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon in “30 Rock”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in “Veep”


Ed O’Neill as Jay Pritchett in “Modern Family”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett in “Modern Family”
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy in “Modern Family”
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker in “Modern Family”
Max Greenfield as Schmidt in “New Girl”
Bill Hader as various characters in “Saturday Night Live”


Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler in “The Big Bang Theory”
Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey in “Desperate Housewives”
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy in “Modern Family”
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in “Modern Family”
Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow in “Nurse Jackie”
Kristen Wiig as various characters in “Saturday Night Live”


“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
“Breaking Bad” (AMC)
“Downton Abbey” (PBS)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Homeland” (Showtime)
“Mad Men” (AMC)


Glenn Close as Patty Hewes in “Damages”
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in “Downton Abbey”
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in “The Good Wife”
Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn in “Harry’s Law”
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in “Homeland”
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in “Mad Men”


Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in “Boardwalk Empire”
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in “Breaking Bad”
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in “Dexter”
Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham in “Downton Abbey”
Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in “Homeland”
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in “Mad Men”


Anna Gunn as Skyler White in “Breaking Bad”
Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in “Downton Abbey”
Joanne Froggatt as Anna in “Downton Abbey”
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma in “The Good Wife”
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart in “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris in “Mad Men”


Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in “Breaking Bad”
Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring “Breaking Bad”
Brendan Coyle as John Bates in “Downton Abbey”
Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in “Downton Abbey”
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in “Game of Thrones”
Jared Harris as Lane Pryce “Mad Men”


“American Horror Story” (FX)
“Game Change” (HBO)
“Hatfields & McCoys” (History)
“Hemingway & Gellhorn” (HBO)
“Luther” (BBC America)
“Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia” (PBS)


Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon in “American Horror Story”
Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in “Game Change”
Nicole Kidman as Martha Gellhorn in “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Ashley Judd as Rebecca Winstone in “Missing”
Emma Thompson as She in “The Song of Lunch”


Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt in “Game Change”
Kevin Costner as ‘Devil’ Anse Hatfield in “Hatfields & McCoys”
Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy in “Hatfields & McCoys”
Clive Owen as Ernest Hemingway in “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Idris Elba as John Luther in “Luther”
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia”


Frances Conroy as Moira in “American Horror Story”
Jessica Lange as Constance Langdon in “American Horror Story”
Sarah Paulson as Nicolle Wallace “Game Change”
Mare Winningham as Sally McCoy in “Hatfields & McCoys”
Judy Davis as Jill Tankard in “Page Eight”


Denis O’Hare as Larry Harvey in “American Horror Story”
Ed Harris as John McCain in “Game Change”
Tom Berenger as Jim Vance in “Hatfields & McCoys”
David Strathairn as John Dos Passos in “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson in “Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia”


“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)
“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)


“Antiques Roadshow” (PBS)
“Jamie Oliver’s Food” (ABC)
“MythBusters” (Discovery Channel)
“Shark Tank” (ABC)
“Undercover Boss” (CBS)
“Who Do You Think You Are?” (NBC)


“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“Dancing With The Stars” (ABC)
“Project Runway” (Lifetime)
“So You Think You Can Dance” )FOX)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)


Phil Keoghan, “The Amazing Race”
Ryan Seacrest, “American Idol”
Betty White, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”
Tom Bergeron, “Dancing With The Stars”
Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance”


“American Dad!” (FOX)
“Bob’s Burgers” (FOX)
“Futurama” (Comedy Central)
“The Penguins Of Madagascar: The Return Of The Revenge Of Dr. Blowhole” (Nickelodeon)
“The Simpsons” (Fox)


“Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network)
“Phineas and Ferb” (Disney Channel)
“MAD” (Cartoon Network)
“Regular Show” (Cartoon Network)
“Robot Chicken” (Cartoon Network)


“Degrassi” (TeenNick)
“Good Luck Charlie” (Disney Channel)
“iCarly” (Nickelodeon)
“Victorious” (Nickelodeon)
“Wizards of Waverly Place” (Disney Channel


“It Gets Better” (MTV)
“Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger” (PBS)
“The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover” (HBO)


Dot-Marie Jones as Coach Shannon Beiste in “Glee”
Maya Rudolph, host in “Saturday Night Live”
Melissa McCarthy, host in “Saturday Night Live”
Elizabeth Banks as Avery Jessup in “30 Rock”
Margaret Cho as Kim Jong-il in “30 Rock”
Kathy Bates as Charlie Harper in “Two and a Half Men”


Michael J. Fox as himself in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Greg Kinnear as Tad in “Modern Family”
Bobby Cannavale as Dr. Mike Cruz in “Nurse Jackie”
Jimmy Fallon, host in “Saturday Night Live”
Will Arnett as Devon Banks in “30 Rock”
Will Arnett as Devon Banks in “30 Rock”


Martha Plimpton as Patti Nyholm in “The Good Wife”
Loretta Devine as Adele Webber in “Grey’s Anatomy”
Jean Smart as D.A. Roseanna Remmick in “Harry’s Law”
Julia Ormond as Marie Calvet in “Mad Men”
Joan Cusack as Sheila Jackson in “Shameless”
Uma Thurman as Rebecca Duvall in “Smash”


Mark Margolis as Tio Salamanca in “Breaking Bad”
Dylan Baker as Colin Sweeney in “The Good Wife”
Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning in “The Good Wife”
Jeremy Davies as Dickie Bennett in “Justified”
Ben Feldman as Michael Ginsberg in “Mad Men”
Jason Ritter as Mark Cyr in “Parenthood”


Brenda Strong as Mary-Alice Young in “Desperate Housewives”
Dan Povenmire as Doctor Doofenshmirtz in “Phineas and Ferb”
Rob Riggle as Noel in “Disney Prep & Landing: Naughty Vs. Nice”
Maurice LaMarche as Clamps, Donbot, Hyperchicken, Calculon, Hedonismbot, Morbo in “Futurama”
Kristen Wiig as Lola in “The Looney Tunes Show”
Hank Azaria as Moe Szyslak, Duffman, Mexican Duffman, Carl, Comic Book Guy, Chief Wiggum in “The Simpsons”


Robert B. Weide, “Curb Your Enthusiasm ”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Louis C.K., “Duckling”
Jason Winer, “Modern Family”
Steven Levitan, “Modern Family”
Jake Kasdan, “New Girl”


Chris McKenna, “Community”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Louis C.K., “Louie”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
Michael Schure, “Parks and Recreation”


Tim Van Patten, “Boardwalk Empire”
Vince Gilligan, “Breaking Bad”
Brian Percival, “Downton Abbey”
Michael Cuesta, “Homeland”
Phil Abraham, “Mad Men”


Julian Fellowes, “Downton Abbey”
Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon & Gideon Raff, “Homeland”
Semi Chellas & Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men”
Andre Jacquemetton & Maria Jacquemetton, “Mad Men”
Erin Levy & Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men”

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*I ate lunch at Five Guys burgers today, this is a sampling of what crossed my mind and a peek at the circus that is my brain.*

  • First off, I love Five Guys. “All the Way” and “Cajun style” are basically what I hoped “Animal Style” would be. Look inside your fridge, do you have thousand island dressing and Kraft singles? If yes, then you are equipped to make a “double double” in the comfort of your own home and yours will probably taste better than In N’ Out’s anyway.
  • At anything resembling fast food, “cheese” means American, even at Five Guys. Since American is to cheese what Ketchup is to sauce, I like to skip the slop and order a basic hamburger, that way I pocket a little extra change and I feel like I’m being health-conscious.
  • The above bullet point should not be taken to mean that I do not put ketchup on my burgers. There are two, and only two, acceptable uses for Ketchup: on a burger with mayo or on a hot dog with mustard.
  • Five Guys at lunchtime isn’t the most organic place to be reading the chapter in Bossypants where Tina Fey talks about breastfeeding.
  • Speaking of breastfeeding, I’m for it but would never suggest that a woman switch off of formula. Unlike male circumcision, I’m for it and if you’re not then you’re a hippie communist.
  • There’s a moment in every Five Guys patron’s life when they learn that the “little” burgers are still enormous. Having already passed through that veil I enjoy watching the light turn on in others. Today it was a cute blonde German girl who unwrapped the foil and nearly screamed, “Woah, this is NOT “little””
  • In a similar vein, a “little” burger and “small” fries at Five Guys is still enough to feed a village of sub-Saharan Africans. I sometimes wish that the dining experience at Five Guys (hereafter referred to as 5G) was more like True Aggie Night at USU. Meaning: if you arrive alone you will be paired up with a complete stranger to share fries with.
  • Speaking of fries, I don’t often eat fries but when I do, I prefer Cajun. And every time, without fail, I forget just how spicy they are after you’ve eaten what would be 5 FDA servings (a small order). Stay hungry my friends.
  • I make a mess out of myself when I eat hand food (hand food = food not eaten with silverware). For that reason I rarely patronize 5G with members of the opposite sex and when I do, it’s only with someone with whom I’ve been married for at least 6 years. Even when alone I try to find a secluded space in the corner where I can comfortably eat my food without worrying about what my face looks like. You know that quintessential image of a baby eating spaghetti? It’s like that. (Sidenote* why is it necessary to feed a baby spaghetti? We’ve all done it, will do it and have seen it done. Why? Spoiler alert, THEY WILL MAKE A MESS!) Where was I, oh yes, my food cave. So after barricading myself in a corner I forget how spicy the fries are (as mentioned above) and have to get up at least 4 times to refill my water and I always, always, always, underestimate how much ketchup I’ll need for my fries (doesn’t count as a 3rd use). What’s more, my water and ketchup never seem to run out at the same time and (as mentioned before) I lack culinary foresight, meaning I have to walk past the cute german tourists at least 8 times covered in sauce and cayenne pepper.
  • Also, after eating Cajun fries I try not to touch anything of remote value until I’ve washed my hands at least 3 times.
  • This quote is brilliant: “One of the best-kept secrets of “country life” is that people accidentally crush their own pets a lot.” — Tina Fey.
  • Also this one: “Trying to force Country Folk to love the Big City is like telling your gay cousin, ‘You just haven’t met the right girl yet.’ They don’t like big cities. It’s okay. It’s natural. They were born that way.” — Tina Fey.
  • Any dining establishment that offers a complimentary snack item gets extra points in my book. When that snack item is peanuts, you get double points. For those of you keeping score at home, 5G is about 349 away from an extra life.
  • I love when prices are set to include all the fixins. I would so much rather pay $6.50 for a burger with everything than $6 plus 50 cents for the add-ons. I feel like going “all the way” at 5G is their way of saying “We appreciate customers who enjoy a good burger, if you’re going to be picky then we just make more money.” After working in the food industry myself, I appreciate squeezing a higher profit-margin out of the culinary challenged.
  • That reminds me of working at Great Harvest, people would say “Hi, can I get a Reuben, but with Turkey?” I would answer, “No, actually you can’t, but if you’d like I can make you a turkey sandwich on Rye.” That look of confusion was worth the wasted 15 seconds. It’s a matter of principle.
  • New York’s Diamond District is essentially one city block, 47th street between 5th and 6th avenues. It’s marked by diamond shaped street lamps at either end of the street. Despite it’s size it’s a no-man’s land and whenever I walk down it I can’t help but feel that if I was shot dead in the middle of street in broad daylight the killer would walk. I get my hair cut there, it’s fantastic.
  • Eu não sei por que, mas comendo um hamburger no 5G me faz pensar em português.
  • Going back to the subject of taking girls out to eat, I have this down to a science. For a first date you either go Chinese or Italian. If Italian, order the short pastas like rigatoni, tortelini or ravioli in lieu of the linguinis and spaghettis. These are easily forkable to avoid unwanted sauce splashing. Chinese is the same reason, everything comes in easy to fork, bite size pieces. For a second date, Indian food. Why? Because if she doesn’t like Indian than you don’t have to bother taking her out on a third date. By the third date it doesn’t really matter because if you’re not knocking on the door of relationship-land then you’re just throwing good money down the drain. “Buying dinner for someone else’s wife” as the boys in the yard liked to say. What yard? I honestly have no idea.
  • I did actually take a girl to 5G once. We bailed out early on a boring wedding reception and let me tell you, there are few things hotter than a girl eating cajun fries in a black dress. I would’ve married her, but she ditched me and left the country instead. I’m sure the boys in the yard would have a thing or two to say about that. She was an annoying-funny feminist, just like Tina Fey. My brain is kind of overloading on the connections right now.

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