Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Psych & How I Met Your Mother: Thoughts on having a love-hate relationship with a television show & coming to terms with their series finales

So many thoughts, so many thoughts.... I don't even know how to best organize this. I guess maybe I'll take each show individually and bullet point my loves and hates. Because in a way, these shows, which both ended their long runs in the past week, parallel each other - they were both shows I fell for hard and fast and ended up being wishy-washy about (in the case of Psych) to not watching at all except for last night's series finale (in the case of HIMYM). In a way, I would compare them both to a type of ex-boyfriend. In the case of Psych, you fell in love with the boy, but he refused to grow up. While there were still things you loved, the continous immaturity and lack of growth became annoying after awhile. But, I never completely broke up with Psych. How I Met Your Mother on the other hand...I started watching on a whim, mainly, as a huge Buffy buff (ha ha), for Alyson Hannigan, and just fell for it completely - the great characters I could relate to, the realistic but refreshing storylines, the humor, the gravitas, the sincerity....I could go on and on. But HIMYM was like the boyfriend who somewhere along the way became this totally different person. You didn't want the same things out of life anymore, his priorities changed, he was a completely different animal that you didn't even recognize anymore, he was just going through the motions...and every now and then you'd check in hoping to see flashes of who he used to be, and sometimes you did, but it never lasted...and you'd spend your days sitting at home looking at old photo albums of the good old days, or the television equivalent - watching repeats of the early seasons. HIMYM, I broke up with. But I watched the finale. In both cases, there were things I loved and things I hated. There were flashes of old HIMYM in the finale, a lot of great callbacks, a lot of heart, but there was a lot that just let me down. The Psych finale I feel was a lot more successful, mostly because of its emphasis on Gus and Shawn, the heart of the show. So if you'll indulge me, I'd like to talk about my thoughts on both finales, as well as some finale thoughts on the series as a whole. Since the Psych finale aired first, I guess we'll jump in there (be forewarned, if you haven't seen either episode, there are SPOILERS ahead):

  • My two biggest problems with Psych as the years progressed were a) Shawn's refusal to grow up and b) Shawn and Juliet's romance usurping Shawn and Gus' bromance as the main character pairing on the show. I never had any problem with Maggie Lawson as an actress or Juliet as a character, but it was like the showrunners felt there HAD to be a love interest for Shawn and so they made Juliet it, even though it never made any sense. And when scenes between them or stories between them took away from Shawn and Gus' relationship, which was the heart and soul of the show, it was really annoying. I always enjoyed Juliet's scenes with Lassiter the most - they were perfect foils for each other. Ok, I got that off my chest - I feel better.
  • Ok, so those two things, plus the occasional too-stylized, too-homage-y episode were my main problems with the show over the years. But it was always still a fun show, and as someone who is still best friends with my childhood best friend, I always loved seeing Shawn and Gus' years-long friendship. They fought, they didn't always see eye-to-eye, they had differences in personality, but they were always there for each other, and as the years went on and James Roday and Dule Hill actually got to know each other, you could just see in their characters the ease and familiarity that comes with years of friendship. They were basically family. And the way Gus would just go along with and embrace the ridiculous scenarios and more importantly the ridiculous names Shawn gave him, was just awesome.
  • The last few episodes of Psych were actually the most heartwarming and emotional ones of the entire run...I actually cried. It made me fall in love with the show all over again. And it didn't hurt that Juliet spent most of the last episodes off camera, so that the show could refocus on Shawn and Gus.
  • As for the finale itself...overall, it worked for me. Shawn finally grew up, which was great, and even the final scene being about his proposal to Juliet worked for me because Gus was there with them. I have mixed feelings about Gus following Shawn to San Francisco - on the one hand, I wanted him to find his own way, follow his own dream, find a woman, have a family - but maybe Psych had become his dream.
  • I like the idea of Psych going on, just in another city, although I'm not sure Shawn's antics would fly in a big city like San Francisco, even with Chief Vick there. I'm also a little sad that Lassiter was left behind in Santa Barbara, although at the same time, he had finally come into his own - he was chief, he had a wife and kid, he was happy. I think he's going to be okay. I'm talking about him as if he's a real person. When he destroyed Shawn's DVD confessing to not really being psychic, I started crying. Again. 
  • Loved that McNabb got to become a detective!
  • Kinda thought Mira Sorvino was a waste of a name actress in the role of Betsy, who herself felt like an almost unneccessary add-on, although in the finale it kinda became clear that she was so super awesome at her job that Psych would've become obsolete if it had stayed. 
  • Even though it sucked that Shawn left without saying goodbye, and ended up making a DVD for everyone and their mother, I always appreciate when he shows and tells Gus just how much he really means to him...because Shawn doesn't always show or tell Gus that. 
  • Did they talk about Val Kilmer a lot on the show? I can't recall, except in the last few eps. But still it was kinda cool seeing him cameo in the finale. 
  • Loved seeing Henry doing some police work again - hope he was looking at the Psych offices to open his own private investigation firm.
  • Best guest star get, by far: Billy Zane. Now I KNOW Shawn has been a fan of his for years, so that was very very cool.
  • My favorite finales are the ones where life goes on....just without the cameras rolling. So that was a nice way to end the show.
  • I had my ups and downs with Psych...but more ups than downs. I thought the finale was pretty darn good.

::Sigh:: On to How I Met Your Mother:

  • The HIMYM finale being about Ted ending up with Robin was sweet, but diminished entirely the whole point of the show and the whole love story between Ted and the Mom. This 9-year journey was supposed to show that Ted and the Mom were an epic love story, and the coda revealed that, in fact, it was Ted and Robin who were the epic love story. That's all well and good. But I feel like that was written for the fans, not as an organic part of the story. There was not enough shown of Ted and the Mom to make me feel like their love was epic. And as cute as Ted and Robin were, they didn't work before, and they didn't work for a reason. Robin and Barney fit together organically (although never well the way the writers told it). Breaking them up was a cop out. Yes, maybe the Mom was a great love of Ted's, but her death and his ending up with Robin just makes her another stopgate on the way to the REAL epic love story. So why did we tune in for 9 years? (Or 7 in my case...) If Ted and Robin were the real epic love story, we all could have stopped watching after the very first episode.
  • Ted and Robin, Robin and Ted...I may be in the minority here but I was over this on-again, off-again, will they or won't they relationship years ago. It was the same reason I was over Ross and Rachel after the umpteenth time they got together and broke up. 
  • I hated that Robin and Barney got divorced. They were a perfect fit from the beginning, although apparently the writers didn't know how to write them together because they didn't want Barney to change. So they should have left them broken up. But since they decided to show them getting married, they should've kept them together. That really annoyed me.
  • I don't buy Barney having a love child with some nameless conquest and stepping up and being a father. I DO buy that if he could say I love you to any woman, it would be his daughter. I also buy him "fathering" those two young girls at the bar, even though it was SO not Barney - my fiance told me that as soon as he found out we were having a daughter, he started seeing every woman around as someone's daughter. He also teared up when Barney met his little girl...apparently he really related to that. So I guess that was well done, even though the scenario that brought Barney to that point was beyond bizarre.
  • I get that they were showing the gang still there for each other but drifting apart, but I needed some more Marshall and Ted. I always loved the portrayal of that friendship.
  • Alyson Hannigan did an awesome job bringing the emotion. I'm sure a lot of that crying was acting but after working with these people for 9 years, I'm sure some of that emotion around growing up and moving on and things changing was very, very real.
  • I loved how Ted and the Mom - err, Tracy - met. That feeling of destiny and fate and all of that jazz was what the whole journey had always felt like, what Ted had always been like, and in another story or with other actors/characters, it might have been too saccharin, but for Ted and the Mom, it felt perfect.
  • Ugh, I just want to bang my head against a wall...I am a spoiler whore so I didn't KNOW that's how the show was going to end but I had heard a rumor that the Mom was going to die and Ted was going to end up with Robin so I went in with reservations. I was so disappointed when I saw that's where they were heading. Maybe it's because my own mother got sick and died when I was somewhat young, so I hated that they incorporated that into the story, and I hated, even though she was supposed to have been dead for six years,  that the kids were all, "Yeah, this story isn't about Mom, it's about Aunt Robin - go call her! Yay!" Not even a tear or moment of nostalgia for your dearly departed mother? Not even a "Gee, Dad, what a beautiful story - can't believe how you and Mom found each other"? 
  • I guess I just really hate that the Mom WASN'T the love of Ted's life - Robin was. 
  • Oh, HIMYM - you were such a roller coaster ride. When you were up, you were one of the best shows on television and one of my all time faves. When you were down, you were just pedestrian at best. I was really unsatisfied with the finale. Really. And the more I think about it, the more upset I get. I actually thought I was on the fence about it last night, but it turns out, I'm not. I'm going to find solace in rewatching the first five seasons on DVD, and just pretend like the series ended there.
Did you catch either of these finales? What did you think of how these shows fared over the years and how they ended?

Friday, March 14, 2014

SPOILERS SPOILERS!! Review of the Veronica Mars movie

As an official Kickstarter backer of the Veronica Mars movie, which opened worldwide in theaters today, I got a free digital copy of the movie, also available today, to watch on my tv at home. I had actually bought two tickets to watch the movie in a theater in Manhattan tonight but as fate would have it, in the form of a nasty laceration to my face yesterday that landed me in the ER with 23 stitches that rendered me slightly reminiscent of Frankenstein's monster with a monster headache and no desire to step foot outside of my house, the movie-at-home prize was perfect.

I've only just finished the movie. If I think about it too much, I might actually form some coherent and articulate thoughts, but as it is, I thought I'd go ahead and just give my gut reaction and thoughts in bullet form - anyone who is a Veronica Mars fan has already read all the well-written, well-thought out reviews, so this might be something just a little different (and it says it in the title to this blog, but reader, beware, there are SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS in the thoughts below):

  • As a Kickstarter backer, I am by no means an impartial Veronica Mars movie viewer. I am a Marshmallow. I was a huge fan of the show when it was on the air, I was bitterly disappointed when it was cancelled, I watched reruns on DVD and on SoapNet and was sorely lacking in closure.
  • As a Veronica Mars fan, I can say, that if you were a fan of the show, you will like this movie. If you weren't a fan of the show? Maybe. And maybe you'd be intrigued enough to buy or rent the original run three seasons. The movie doesn't feel like a movie. It feels like an almost 2 episode arc of the tv show we loved. But since the fans of the show are the ones who funded it, we're the ones it was primarily made for - and in that sense, the movie is awesome.
  • Everyone (well not everyone, but a good amount of people!) who we loved and loved to hate from Neptune are back in this movie - the only DRAWBACK to that is it reminded me how much I loved/hated these characters and wished I had more time to spend with them. 
  • On that same note, some characters were obviously cameos of some fan faves who didn't necessarily contribute anything to the storyline but needed to be there, just so we could say hi - I would say Deputy Leo, Vinny Van Lowe, and Cliff were the most obvious of those. But more importantly, because of everyone Rob Thomas needed to bring back, the characters we NEEDED to see more of, just because they are so close to the heart and soul of the show, namely Wallace, Mac, and Weevil, we just didn't get enough of. Note to Rob Thomas: I would totally watch a spin-off of Veronica Mars revolving around any or all of these characters. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
  • Keith Mars is, by far, the best tv (and now movie) dad there is out there. If my own dad wasn't so awesome, I would wish that Keith Mars was my dad.
  • I was never a huge Piz fan. I get that some people were, which is why he needed to be in the movie, but even when it was Veronica and Duncan, it was still always Veronica and Logan. 
  • I was never a huge Krysten Ritter fan when she was playing Gia Goodman, I only warmed up to her when she was in The B in Apartment 23, but considering she was the daughter of the season 2 villain, and they NEVER addressed the fallout of finding out her dad was a pedophile and then him being murdered, it was kinda  nice to have her back to deal with that.
  • I never thought I'd see the day that I'd say Martin Starr looked hot. Yeah, he played the baddie in the film, but not only did he look normal compared to his Freaks and Geeks days AND his other Rob Thomas related project Party Down, but he looked GOOD.
  • Speaking of Party Down, I think I now see Ryan Hansen more as Kyle from Party Down and not Dick Casablancas from VM.
  • Nice Celeste Kane cameo - but no Duncan at all? 
  • Hellmouth reference??? Gotta give mad props to one of my favorite tv shows referencing my ALL TIME FAVORITE tv show!!! :)
  • Would totally watch the sequel in which the corruption of Sheriff Dan Lamb is investigated, particularly in regards to Weevil's case.
  • So glad Weevil got a happy ending - sorta. Dude was always getting the short end of the stick in things.
  • I think we all have to remember that Veronica Mars is, in essence, an anti-hero. She is flawed, flawed, flawed, and I think that's why so many people find her relatable. She is imperfect. We root for her, even when she stumbles, and boy, does she ever stumble. But don't we all?
  • We all got a credit - not individual, of course, but if you contributed to the Kickstarter campaign, Rob Thomas and friends thanked us - and I think that's huge, that through this whole journey, he/they have remembered that not only are we the ones they made this movie for, but we're the ones who made it possible.
I'm sure I'll have more thoughts as I watch the movie again or even just digest what I already watched, but this fan was more than satisfied...at the same time that I was left wanting more!!! Miniseries anyone, every few years? Just to catch up? The truth of the matter is, this kind of thing never happens - that the fans want it, that the creator wants it, that the original actors want it, that the fans FINANCE the whole shebang, that shit gets made - that in itself makes this whole Veronica Mars movie a giant coup, whether they make money, make new fans, or whatever. I felt like I was part of something, as I'm sure you did too -maybe I'll have more to write tomorrow. Right now my face REALLY hurts, partially from the giant gash across my temple but partially from all the crying I did as I watched this movie...I think maybe tomorrow I'll start my DVDs over from the beginning, again, just remembering that a long time ago, we used to be friends....

What did you think about the Veronica Mars movie???

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Brooklyn Nine Nine is Brooklyn Oh-So-Fine

Tonight, I laughed out loud at a sitcom for the first time in...well, at least months, but possibly even longer than that. I love my comedies - love 'em love 'em love 'em - but if I'm watching reruns of some of my faves, a la Friends or How I Met Your Mother, I think it's funny or even hilarious, but I appreciate the humor silently. And a lot of the sitcoms I currently enjoy the most are shows with a lot of heart, so while I often find myself smiling at the humor, I also find myself wiping away tears, a la Parks and Recreation or Community.

But tonight I watched Brooklyn Nine Nine and laughed out loud. Several times. I cannot say enough good things about this show. It's the only freshman show - sitcom or drama - of the 2013 season that I watch, and usually, I am not a first season kind of gal. A show goes through growing pains, as actors and writers and directors all learn to work together, as these same people also try to figure out who these characters are and where the stories are going. Very rarely have I seen a show find it's footing during the first season - How I Met Your Mother comes to mind. But Brooklyn Nine Nine, while I'm sure not entirely sure of its characters or stories yet, is on solid ground so far this season. There's a reason this show won the Golden Globe for Best Television Comedy and Andy Samberg won one for Lead Actor in a Television Comedy. Samberg and Andre Braugher's dynamic on the show is on par with Parks and Recreation's Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson (two characters who have maybe my most favorite platonic friendship/respect for each other ever) and Terry Crews is pitch perfect as a sensitive and somewhat effeminate yet still effective and badass cop. I shouldn't have been surprised I enjoy this show so much - it was given to us by Michael Schur, the same guy who brought us Parks and Recreation. He seems to have taken what he learned from P & R's terrible first season to help guide the production of Brooklyn Nine Nine, but the similarities are great. All the things I love about Parks - a great ensemble cast, well-written three-dimensional characters who are funny but who we also care about, a funny workplace comedy - are the things I love about Brooklyn. I can't wait to see where they go from here - I love laughing out loud when I'm watching a comedy.

If you haven't caught this show yet, please do - it airs on Fox on Tuesdays. Be there!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Some thoughts on NBC's "Community"

Well, we're a few episodes into the fifth season of Community now and as I finish watching tonight's, several thoughts come to mind: first, that it's like last year's Dan Harmon-less bizarro season never even happened; second, that after my second episode in a row of having my heartstrings expertly plucked and sobbing like a baby, this season seems to have more heart and gravitas amidst the chuckles and homages; and third, that never in all my tv watching days (and believe me, I have watched a ton of television, probably way more than any normal person should have) have I ever seen a show where nobody, and I mean NOBODY, but the show creator knew the characters and the world in which they live. Last season without show creator Harmon can't even be described as a trainwreck - it was like a completely different show. I know there are growing pains when new hands take over - after all, this world is the brainchild of another, but you can bring a new perspective or somehow make it your own or at least find a semblance of the original voice. But even with three seasons under their belts, neither the new showrunners or the writers or the actors had a CLUE as to what Greendale was or who Jeff, Annie, Britta, Troy, Abed, Pierce, and all the other players were. It was like none of them had never even met them. I don't know how that happens. Maybe Harmon never let them peek inside. But I think of how well Community does television, movie, and genre homages and last season attempted a Hunger Games homage that was beyond dreadful. It can't even be considered an homage in my opinion - it showed us nothing; we were told everything by characters. All the action took place off screen. I can't even remember the rest of the season. And then this season, Harmon returns and it was like he was never gone. And with the exception of a few lines of acknowledgement here and there, it's like the stories of last season never happened. Thank god. Community has always been a little - okay, extremely - silly, which is part of the appeal, but it's like Harmon is experiencing a lot of deep emotions returning to this world because this week and last week left me in tears, sobbing like a baby. SPOILER ALERT!!!!! I never liked Pierce - his character was my least favortie and his story lines grated but when he (and by he I mean his lawyer because Pierce is dead) said goodbye to the rest of the study group last week, it was the most I ever liked him. And it made me sorry Chevy Chase was such an ass and Pierce was gone, because the Pierce we got to experience last week was a character I could've liked. And then this week's goodbye to Troy - it's hard to break up a bromance, and Troy and Abed are up there with the all time tv and movie bromances, so I hope that Donald Glover's decision to pursue his music career doesn't end up hurting Abed as a character, because he and Glover's Troy were so entwined they were almost ONE character. It'll be interesting to see where the show goes from here. A show that I was finished with last year and couldn't have cared less if it was cancelled or renewed has worked it's way back into my heart...welcome back, Dan Harmon. But while you're here, could you maybe let your writing staff and actors in just a smidge on what makes these characters and this world tic, so last season never happens again? Or maybe keeping it all to yourself is your insurance policy that you will always have to be part of this show, in which case I say...well played.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

From Zap2It.com: "Veronica Mars" & "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" live again on cable channel Pivot

Um...these are probably my two favorite television shows EVER!!! What is this Pivot channel & how do I find out if I have it????

Read the whole article here. The most important info is in the second paragraph. I don't even know what the rest of the article is about. I don't care. Nothing else matters after finding out that I can watch VM & BtVS again on television...if I can find out what channel they're on!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

From Zap2It.com: Stream classic Nickelodeon shows from the '90s on Nick Reboot

OMG, I am sooo excited about this! I think I am probably most excited to see Roundhouse, only because it was brought up in conversation just today by my brother and I now have the theme song stuck in my head. I kinda want to belt it out loud but do not want my fiance looking at me like I'm a weirdo. But yes, if you had a favorite 90s Nickelodeon show, definitely check this out. Or find Nick Reboot here.

Ah, screw it! "Whenever my life gets me so down, I know I can go down, to where the music and the fun never end, as long as the music keeps playing, you know what I'm saying, you know that I can find a friend-en-end, down at the Roundhouse!"

Monday, October 14, 2013

From Zap2It.com: Kindergartners sing 'Day Man' from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

Not for nothing, but 'Day Man' is one of my favorite songs. I used to watch that episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia over and over again just to hear Dennis and Charlie's masterpiece. The only thing that makes this song better is having kids sing it. If you've never seen that ep of the show or even the show, god forbid, and you think these kids are totally adorbs, I highly recommend you check it out. The song is featured in season 3, episode 9: Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person. Meanwhile, I'm going to start teaching my daughter to sing this song right now, even though she can't even speak yet.

You can see the video and accompanying story on Zap2It.com here.