Category Archives: television

Why am I happy Blockbuster is going bankrupt?

Blockbuster tells Hollywood studios it’s preparing for mid-September bankruptcy | Company Town | Los Angeles Times.

So there’s the news and it made me happy. Why? I’m not sure.

I used to be a big Blockbuster customer. I spent many a fun date night with whoever the significant other was at the time, browsing the new arrivals section. Rewinding sucked and getting things returned sucked and trying to get popular new movies sucked, but otherwise it was fun.

But then Netflix came along and gave me everything I didn’t know I wanted. No leaving the house. Hours of browsing fun and queue management. Super easy and impossibly quick return and receive mail service. And later … streaming … delicious, delicious streaming.

Blockbuster tried to use their muscle to out-Netflix Netflix. But it seems that they failed. And again, that makes me happy. Why?

  • Part of it must be that I never liked the idea of the big guys stealing the little guys’ idea and trying to muscle them out.
  • Part of it is probably that stupid thing we humans do where we choose someone (team, company, soda brand) and become mindlessly loyal to it. Though I think Netflix loyalty is smart too.
  • I think that the biggest source of happiness and satisfaction is the fact that Netflix won with innovation and customer service rather than muscling them out. I feel this is justice considering all of the mom and pop video stores Blockbuster has gobbled up over the years.

Yes, I think we’re there. Innovation = yay! It’s like the nerds won. Again. And I like it.

I do feel bad for the inevitable fallout of all the video store employees that will lose their jobs. But in this economy, it’s a common story. Hopefully, most of them were attending school and on their way to better careers anyway. And if not, then this should be a wake up call.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll watch the end of How to Marry a Millionaire on my iPhone via the new Netflix app.

Deadliest Catch: Week 1 recap

Discovery Channel

Tuesday has a lot of fun TV of both the unscripted and scripted kinds now that both Deadliest Catch and Glee are back.  I don’t have time to watch it all after The Spawn goes to bed and last night American Idol lost out on my viewership until I am able to watch the recording today.  I have been anxiously awaiting the return of Catch (as the cool kids at Discovery Channel seem to call it), even though I know it’s going to hurt.

“This season is dedicated to all souls sacrificed to sea.”

You really can’t script the kind of adventure and drama that is on this show.  Real life and death action goes on up there and unfortunately we have a huge, heartbreaking spoiler: Captain Phil Harris died soon after having a stroke while unloading crab.  But he’s still alive and happy to be fishing in this episode and it’s really wonderful to hear him say that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cornelia Marie with Captain Phil Harris

Brothers Josh and Jake Harris are still squabbling.  Josh considers another boat and his father tells him, “If you do, you might not get back on here.”  Captain Phil later informs Jake that he isn’t as in charge as he thinks he is.

Northwestern, Captain Sig

Deckhand Jake Anderson declares his ambition to run the ship some day and practically demands training.

So, before sailing, Sig and Phil concoct a plan. They decide to swap Jakes to teach them both humility.

Shipwreck Party

This was after a meeting all of the captains had in a shipwreck.  They all met inside and chatted about the upcoming King Crab season.  Jonathon Hillstrand, co-captain with his brother of the Time Bandit, accused Captain Keith from the Wizard of trying to steal one of their deckhands. Strong words ensued. Awkward! And then Captain Jon actually pushed Captain Keith. “Don’t pretend to be my friend and don’t even call my boat unless you’re sinking!” (Expletives removed.)

A Blessed Beginning

The next day, while the swap takes place and grumbling about the fight goes on, a prayer is said over the loudspeaker, blessing all ships in the harbor and the King Crab season as a whole.  Surreal.

The Northwestern is the first to arrive at the fishing grounds, but the Cornelia Marie is the first to actually make a haul.  The count at the end of the show is 2000 lbs of crab to everyone else’s zero.

Points of interest:

  • Bite off the head of a raw herring for good luck? Ew.
  • Jake Harris has a hard time adjusting to the different pots and gets a little hurt.
  • Jake Anderson is made to bait pots.

We are also introduced to the Kodiak, captained by Bill Wichrowski AKA Wild Bill. He used to lead fishing tours off the coast of Mexico and is friends with the skippers of the Time Bandit.  His crew consists of a deckhand, Russell Newberry, fired by two boats and also Zach Larson, Bill’s son, who is a greenhorn.  A pot fell because of poor knotting and came close to killing or maiming someone. Scary.

Responses to the weather and seas being calm and gorgeous:

  • Captain Phil: It’s the flattest King Crab season ever. We’re gonna pay for that.
  • Captain Sig: Is it some omen or something?
  • Captain Jon: It’s like a lake.

The end of the episode was marked by some terrifying drama.  The Carly Renee sent out a distress signal that they were taking on water 22 miles from Dutch Harbor.  The Guardian was the first boat on the scene and rescued all four crewmembers from their life raft.  The boat was already capsized and useless.  They said they had no warning — that the boat started listing and they had enough time to get into their survival suits and escape.

As usual, the episode ended before I wanted it to. I can’t wait until next week.

Biggest Loser Couples Week 4 Review

Biggest Loser Week 4Lying and anger and drama, oh my!

Generally speaking, this season’s inter-team cooperation continued this week with two notable exceptions.  The Red Team continued their game playing and the Green Team continued their isolationist-anger mentality.  Because the Red Team won immunity and the power to give other teams obstacles, Green Team went into full-on hate mode with the Red Team mostly being the target.  This focus on hatred rather than on losing weight brought them below the yellow line and Migdalia ordered everyone to send her home.  It was a close vote, but she did win… well she lost but she won her choice… which was not to lose the biggest…  yeah, she got sent home.

Red Team Drama

Two weeks ago, Melissa and Lance had immunity.  Melissa, wife of Lance and mother of two, gained one pound in an obvious attempt to make it easier to lose weight the next week.  Bob and Jillian called her on it, but she didn’t admit to it.  Last week, Melissa’s weight didn’t count in the weigh-in.  She lost one pound.  Bob and Jillian accused her of throwing the game again and there was a big brouhaha because Melissa and Lance took offense at her being called a liar.  To be fair, “accused” isn’t quite the right word.  Bob and Jillian stated as an absolute fact that Melissa sandbagged and were clear that stating otherwise insulted their intelligence.

So this week, both Melissa and Lance were upset and expected apologies.  They didn’t get them.  Bob stood his ground, but agreed not to push the issue.  Jillian, however, was much more strident and confrontational about it.  Lance refused to work with her after Jillian said “You’re telling me the world is flat.  Man, it’s round.” (Love her.)  Melissa stood her ground, saying her integrity is all she stands for blah blah blah… Next thing we know, she’s convincing her husband to make full use of Jillian.

I want to be clear on this:  Melissa lied.  Whether Lance really believes her or is in on the deception is another matter altogether.  I don’t know.  And I admire him for standing up for her.  He is upset that she was called a liar on national television.  But what Melissa did was insult the intelligence of not only Bob and Jillian, but all of the viewers as well.

Green Team Drama

Last week, Migdalia almost walked off the show because Jillian tried to get her to show some emotion and admit she was angry.  This week, the stoic anger continued with the pair.  When about to go for the midweek challenge which rewarded phone calls home, they said they had to win because no team was going to give them the other 3 opportunities to call home.  They didn’t win; the Grey Team did.  Those awesome Grey Tonga did give them phone calls home.  They were grateful, but it didn’t seem to change their us vs. them attitude.

The Red Team gave Green a two pound disadvantage.  This completely psyched them out and they had a terrible week.  In the end, the two pounds didn’t make a difference.  But the idea of being put upon by the others stressed them out to the point of having a terrible week.  Their body language when weighing in and asking for Migdalia to go home was so closed off — glares, frowns and folded arms the whole way.  I wish they both could have gone home because just looking at them stresses me out.

What I liked about this episode:

  • Rather than skirt the issue, Bob and Jillian confronted the Red Team lying issue head on at the beginning of the week.
  • I love that neither of them backed down in their beliefs that Melissa lied.

Things I didn’t like:

  • I really don’t like the ultra-personal stuff on this show.  I don’t really think any portion of their phone calls home are our business.
  • I don’t like the long history of the leaving contestant’s time on the show just before showing their current weight.  I don’t like it any week.  We’ve seen it… and at this stage of the season, we’ve just seen it.  Give us more of the now and less of the then.

Distractions:

  • There were a couple confessionals where Jillian was way made up.  It was completely out of place with the rest of the shots and without explanation.
  • The hair!: Daris from the Orange Team and Michael from the White Team continued to have amazingly wild hair in some shots.  It’s kind of fun and scary at the same time.

I hope next week has less gameplay drama and more creative challenges and massive weight loss drama.  Regardless, I’ll be watching.

Biggest Loser Couples Week 2 Review

I am a huge Biggest Loser fan.  The basic principles they teach on the show are exactly what unhealthy people need to hear.  And the stories of these grossly overweight people overcoming their mental issues to become athletes is beyond inspiring.  The only thing I don’t like is the backstabbing.  The crazy bitch from last season — whose name I don’t even want to waste time looking up — almost ruined it for me.  I am so glad she didn’t make it to the finals, nor did she win the home game.  (Though I was worried for a little bit during the finale.)  But this season, so far everyone seems to be working together and really empathic to each other’s needs.  Of course, it’s only the second week, but I remain optimistic.

This episode, the contestants and trainers had to deal with The Week 2 Curse.  It only makes sense that after changing one’s lifestyle and losing such huge numbers in the first week that the body requires an adjustment period.  Historically, the weight loss in the second week is much lower.  This same phenomenon occurred in the seasons of Celebrity Fit Club` that I watched.  (Is that show even on anymore?)  This week was no exception and the stress was getting to almost everyone.

The Red team won the immunity and sandbagged their weight loss.  The White team lost the Pop Challenge and gained a two pound penalty, which they were able to overcome.  The Purple team fell below the yellow line and Patti asked everyone to send her home so that her daughter could stay behind.  Go Mama P!
The most dramatic thing that happened this week was the total meltdown of Maria, the mom from the White team.  Her fear of water during the Pop Challenge, which was a balance beam over a pool, was debilitating.  It was so bad that instead of choosing to fall into the water when she lost her balance after just stepping on the beam, she threw herself onto the concrete.  She busted her face and broke her finger.  Blood was everywhere.  This was not at all a safety issue on behalf of the show.  How can you prevent someone from throwing herself on hard cement?  Later in the week, Jillian gave her swimming lessons.  It was powerful watching Jillian lovingly coax her out of her fear.  Truly. I got misty.

Things I liked about this episode:

  • Dr. Huizenga: It’s always cool when he shows up.  His harsh realities are real eye openers for all unhealthy people, not just the contestants.
  • Medical Tasks: The doc gave each team an envelope with a medical task.  For example, one of them was to have Bob wear the extra weight that Michael (White team) was carrying. Very dramatic.
  • Bob telling Michael (yes it was heavy on the White team) that he should have finished the Pop Challenge.  His mother had every medical professional at their disposal to help her and her condition was not life threatening.  He needs to take care of himself so that he is better able to take care of others — it’s why he’s on campus.
  • Everyone respecting Patti’s wish to keep her daughter there rather than playing The Game.
  • The little in-show ads. What? You find them obvious and annoying?  I think of them as a tribute to the old-school in-show ads of radio.  Besides, they come with good tips.  I will accept the possibility that I have been brainwashed.
What I didn’t like:
  • We didn’t get to see everyone’s Medical Tasks.
  • We saw practically nothing of the Green team and they ended up winning the weigh in.
Distractions
I am not proud of this, but I kept being distracted by the following things:
  • Michael’s hair.  Big mushroom hair.  I had to rewind just to catch what Bob told him.  I really love the guy and hope he goes all the way — don’t get me wrong.  But yeah. Hair.
  • Patti’s belly.  I hope she’s able to get rid of that before the finale.  She seems like a real sweetheart and deserves to look healthier than she does after her weight loss.
  • Allison’s hair and green, ruffly blouse during the weigh in.  She is stunningly gorgeous and usually I really dig her style.  Not this time though.
Overall, I loved this episode and didn’t even fast forward through the weepy stuff at the end like I normally do.  I look forward to next week, but in the meantime I have lots more TV to watch.

Conan = class

I am not a late show kind of TV viewer.  But after Conan’s statement today regarding the NBC Tonight Show scheduling debacle, I made sure to record tonight’s show.  I was not disappointed.

Conan’s monologue was funny, clever and made fun of NBC at every turn.  I was also very pleased, though not at all surprised, that his audience gave him an extended standing ovation.

Good luck Conan and thank you for showing so much class and guts.

I feel myself succombing to fangirl rage

I have been a big fan of Entertainment Weekly for years and even though paper is definitely out, I am currently subscribing to their magazine.  They are funny, well written and don’t seem to take themselves too seriously.  They also employ one of my fave writers: Whitney Pastorek.

But I will not be re-subscribing to the magazine because it just isn’t for me, literally.  They have a section where they recommend things to watch on TV in the upcoming week.  They include basic cable and the premium channels as the selections. But, for the most part, they recommend shows that I guess the hip people want to know about.

For this past Tuesday, after an issue that mentioned Jon and Kate multiple times, they recommended Hell’s Kitchen (consistently in the top 20 ratings), and the season premieres of The View, The Tyra Banks Show and 90210.  There was no mention that I could find for my most anticipated season premiere: Sons of Anarchy.  What is the point of recommending shows that everyone is already watching?

If you haven’t seen SOA, do it.  It’s not just “that biker show”.  It’s The Godfather, but with a Motorcycle Club. And yes, I know what making that comparison means.  The performances, direction and writing all deserve major accolades.  No, it isn’t a politically correct show and yes, it’s about as close to R rated as TV can get, so don’t watch this with your little ones.  But if you like deep characters, quotable dialog (“Jesus is just a guy who mows my lawn.”) and well paced episodes stuffed with coherent plot — please, please watch this show.

Sorry, EW.  I will still read your site occasionally, but you’ll no longer get my subscription revenue.  I’d rather you take a risk in recommending shows that aren’t getting the publicity they deserve as opposed to having you tell me about Jon and the Housewives of 90210.  Meanwhile, I anxiously await the next episode about SAMCRO.

I’ll be watching Melissa’s new show


I’m a pretty big fan of cooking reality shows. My favorite is Top Chef, by far, but I recently have been watching this year’s The Next Food Network Star. I love that show because they aren’t about the drama and keeping contestants around for drama-related ratings. They want the best TV personality and they don’t pull punches. They also do their best to set the contestants up for success.

Though I agree with The Spousal Unit that the winner, Melissa d’Arabian, can be a bit on the annoying side at times, I will be watching her show eagerly. From all I’ve seen, she is a home cooking genius — and I don’t use that word lightly. She takes an intelligent approach to cooking that really speaks to me and I need the tips and techniques she’ll be showing. Her four step chicken, the mnemonic for remembering the flavor layerings for ratatouille, her kid-friendly vegetable strategies — I need them now!

I’m so excited she won and look forward to watching as well as buying her books when they eventually come out.

Favorite quote from the show is from Alton Brown: I was counting and you smiled exactly zero times.