Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Shows So Far: The GOOD

Quick Update: And how is everyone doing? Yeah, yeah, I know "no blog, no blog, blah blah..." But I'm back...for now (muhahaha).

Song Stuck In My Head: "We Are All On Drugs" by Weezer. Lovely song.

Ah, summer. Speaking as an Arizonian…it sucks and I hate it. However, when it comes to entertainment, summer usually means either a) syndicated repeats and b) brand new, shiny shows that we haven’t seen all year. This can either be great or bad.

Welcome to SUMMER SHOWS SO FAR: THE GOOD, THE OKAY, THE BAD, and THE UGLY with SSF. So let’s go to the new stuff playing on the major networks (as in, not cable shows but shows available to everyone) that doesn't make us want to cry or rant on message boards (yet).

America’s Got Talent.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays at 8/7pm. on NBC.

Oh yeah. This season, while the acts are as randomly wacky as always, is by general opinion the best yet. And we all know why: Howard Stern. Going back and forth between channeling Simon Cowell with sharp, to-the-point critiques and having a boatload of heart and empathy for the acts, he is more or less the perfect judge.

Even better, Howie, Nick, and Sharon have to be funnier than usual just to keep up with him, making the show better than ever.

LA Complex.
Tuesday 9/8 pm on the CW.

A show I blogged about during A-Z blogging, the LA Complex is a Canadian-turned-American drama about being a nobody in Hollywood. It uses a mixture of irony and self-deprecating characters with fun situations and glimmers of hopes and dreams. Every character, and every wild decision or action they take, feels real, which is a nice change.

And it’s wild: a comedian wannabe ends up using a story of S&M gone bad in his act; a script-carrying actress attends AA meetings to “network” with producers and actors. In the end, it’s just entertaining.

Unfortunately this show wasn't made to be, and even though CW might air some episodes of season two and season one during the summer, don't expect to last longer than that. However, it's a nice show to have a great run with and then maybe watch online for a while.

Well, that's all for now for the good. What shows on major TV networks or any network do you consider "good" right now? What do you hope is good?

Okay, lat - Oh, right. I've been away for a while, I owe you guys a LOLcatz-style apology. I mean, I guess it isn't getting a little overused and I probably shouldn't but -


And since we did talk about America's Got Talent and all...

There. You're welcome. NOW later.

Friday, June 1, 2012

What Season Finales Teach About Series Writing (Part Four: AI and SNL)

Quick Update: Finally reading Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” while every other female in the world is probably reading “50 Shades of Grey”.

Song Stuck In My Head: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson. We are all allowed to fall in love with one corny pop song per year. I have chosen my one.

Well, this is it guys…the last of our series on how season finales teach us so much.

So let’s finish with less scripted (not unscripted, just less scripted) shows, AMERICAN IDOL and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.


We usually expect a sad ending to be the one with waterworks. The hero died, the hero lost, the hero failed (at least until the next book) so let’s all cry. But as Phillip Phillips (should I keep a tally of how many times I blogged about this dude?) proved, even the happiest ending of your life means tears.

After winning the eleventh season of American Idol (out of who knows how many more seasons) Phillip Phillips has a lot of expectations. The past few seasons, we hadn’t had a mega successful winner. So maybe Phillip squared won over the majority of the American Idol audience with his soulfulness and mad guitar-playing and “artistry” and the veins that pop in his head when he sings. But will he win over all of American music-listeners? Lot of pressure for a dude.

But then we forget that sometimes, no one cares about the future. Humble Mr. Phillips only knew that he had made it through weeks of rehearsals, boot camps, nail-biting, product placements, friendships, eliminations, and critics…to WIN. That’s a lot of emotion. So during his final song, Phillip didn’t even bother to finish. The second the necessary confetti started to stream down, he just left the stage to go hug his family, who’d been with him throughout it all. Even with a beautiful, happy ending…tears happen.

It’s his party, he’ll cry if he wants to.

Harry Potter translation: Remember the end of Deathly Hallows? Not the epilogue. The happy ending. When everyone is relieved for it all to be over, and is crying and hugging their own family. When all the headmasters of Hogwarts clap and cheer Harry, and Dumbledore wipes away a tear of pride? It may be a happy ending, but there’s still going to be tears and emotion. You know it.


After a wild season finale filled with Mick Jagger poking fun at everyone from Steven Tyler to himself, Stefan’s plans for a fun New York summer, a triple threat with Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire and Jeff Beck, SNL had a surprise ending for one of its departing alumni Kristin Wiig.

Kristin was one of the actresses there when I started watching the show a few years ago, so it makes sense she’s my favorite SNL actress. All you have to do is take one look at her million or so reoccurring characters, all the fan favorites. The Target lady. Travel expert Janet. The bigheaded actress who is both horrible at playing Password and somehow the only celebrity they could get to play. GILLY! Even though SNL actors do come and go, you know Kristin, who had recent success with Bridesmaids and all, will stand out as one of the special ones.

So what did SNL do? Mick Jagger started what seemed to be a graduation skit, calling Kristin Wiig to the stage. But then it turned out to be a send-off for the actress. Each cast member and even some of the producers came up one by one, saying their goodbyes. It was all sweet and nostalgia-heavy.

In a series, not all the characters go on. If there’s a character leaving, don’t just tick them off like flies. If they mattered to the story, give them their own proper send-off. Having everyone come onstage to hug them might not be possible, but give them the recognition they deserve. After all, like how SNL alumni host the show sometimes, you never know when you might need to bring a character back. So end on a good note, okay?

Hunger Games translation: I know it isn’t at the end of the book, but Rue. That’s all I really need to say. But Katniss was pretty good at giving almost all the contestants a send-off, whether it be a silent goodbye to Thresh after he saved her or not letting Cato suffer. They were all important characters, whether good or bad, and they all got a proper ending.

Yep. That’s it.

Really. We have to say goodbye. But just for now, I promise!



Wait, this is a blog, not a TV show? Oh. Whew. Okay then.