Jersey Shore Season 2 Episode 9

Tonight’s episode of Jersey Shore was alright. Anytime you see a dude losing a girl in a club he just tried to have sex with in the bathroom, a menstrual pad put under someone’s pillow and someone tickle their roommate’s foot while they’re trying to hook up with their significant other is a good episode, right? Well, probably not, but whatever, I’m not looking for Shakespeare here. Do note that the much publicized fight between Angelina and Mike is just shouting and they don’t even show the actual slap on camera this episode, which reminds me of the Snooki punch episode: showing it a million times in commercials and then not in the actual episode. In this case, though, I assume they’ll come back and replay a bunch of these scenes next week–wasting my time–and then get into next week’s episode. Eh, what better do I have to do on Thursday? Hit the jump for the full live blog. Continue reading Jersey Shore Season 2 Episode 9

Live Blogging Big Bang Theory S4 “The Robotic Manipulation”

I’m not a fan Big Bang Theory getting moved from Monday to Thursday, especially because it’s opposite another show I love: Community. Luckily, the TV has been fixed, but that doesn’t mean our building can support DVR so I had to make a hard decision. As you can obviously (hopefully) tell, I went with BBT. I really dug the episode which focused on Penny chaperoning a date between Sheldon and Amy (Mayim Bialik) while Leonard and Raj help Howard get unstuck from a robot arm he invented. Hit the jump for all the live blogging goodness, plus pics! Continue reading Live Blogging Big Bang Theory S4 “The Robotic Manipulation”

AXE Says “Clean Your Balls”

AXE isn’t known for their subtle ad campaigns. The company that used to tell you that if you used their body spray is now playing coy (just barely) with a new “detailer.” Here’s the 15-second shortest version:

And the 30 second version, the one I saw tonight during the Real World New Orleans reunion episode:

Finally, the much (probably too) long 2 minute 45 second version.

I’ve got no problem with AXE playing with innuendo, I’m no prude. I just wish the longer version wasn’t so one-note. I also think it would be funny if instead of playing a former tennis pro (more ball jokes, WAKA WAKA WAKA) Jaime Pressly either played herself or her character from Poison Ivy 3 (my first interaction with the actress and the cause of my crush on her).

Here’s my problem with the commercials: that thing looks freaking painful. There’s even a note that comes up in all versions of the commercial when sports equipment is being rubbed particularly roughly that says, and I quote, “Take care when using on sensitive areas.” In other words, don’t rub your testicles with this thing as hard as you would a pair of golf balls. I’m not ashamed to admit that I just use a luffa and would recommend that to anyone over this ridiculous implement.

Hey, on the other hand though, seeing this thing in a man’s bathroom might be the prefect indicator to a woman that 1) he doesn’t know how to clean himself well, 2) he really REALLY wants to be touched or 3) he’s not secure enough with himself to have a weird spongy thing hanging in his shower (mine’s green). That should work as an immediate signal for any smart woman to get out of that house ASAP, in my opinion.

Real World Watcher New Orleans: Reunion

Jeepers, these reunion episodes are really hard to keep up on when it comes to liveblogging. SO MUCH gets said in the taped interviews and on stage, that I’m sure I missed some stuff. Here’s a few main points: Ryan is still a dick, but he claims to have changed a lot thanks to the experience. Sahar comes off as kind of an ass and is still with Pablo (yech). Jemmye and Knight are still together and living in New Orleans. McKenzie was surprisingly ready to throw down with people. Hit the jump for ALL the gory details. Continue reading Real World Watcher New Orleans: Reunion

Undercovers Ain’t No Lost, But That’s Okay

How sick do you think JJ Abrams is of people comparing everything he does to Lost? I would imagine a lot, considering he reportedly came up with the basic idea and then handed it off to Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse who ran the show for its entire run. Hell, the dude’s gone on to rejuvenate the mostly dead and bloated Star Trek franchise and produce a string of other TV shows and movies. He’s a great creative mind and I look forward to seeing where his future endeavors take him, endeavors like his new NBC spy show Undercovers. First up, let me reiterate what I wrote over on my Maxim TV column for this week: the world doesn’t need another spy show what with good ones like Burn Notice and Covert Affairs and even boring ones like Rubicon and, with another spy show already in his resume, I’m not sure if we need another Abrams spy show. But I’m giving it a shot because the dude’s earned tons of cred with me.

But hey, it’s pretty fun. The show’s not great and it doesn’t smack of Abrams-icity per se, but it is fun which is good enough to get me coming back for more. As I’ve mentioned plenty of times, I love James Bond movies specifically and the spy genre in general. Plus, I think it’s a lot of fun to see a show like this on the air. It’s got a good budget, so things look good. As you might imagine, there’s a mystery as to why main characters Steve and Samantha Bloom were really brought back into the spy game after being gone for five years.

Here’s a quick list of what else I liked:

1. The Blooms are really likable. Sure, they’ve got common problems: they feel like the spark in their relationship is dimming IE they can’t remember the last time they danced, but those are pretty common problems which will hopefully bring in more viewers in addition to the genre fans. Hey, think of it like this: there used to be so many spy shows on TV that Get Smart, a parody, could thrive. Why not now?

2. The Blooms are BOTH spies, which takes out some of the clunkiness that comes with the old and boring secret identity concept. Sure, they’ll have to keep things from their family catering business, but that’s okay by me.

3. It’s awesome seeing African American characters in lead roles. Sure, there’s Halle Berry as Jinx in Die Anther Day and Carl Lumbly’s Marcus Dixon from Alias, but I think this is the first time a pair of married spies in a movie or series who are black.

4. It’s not Lost and by that I mean I don’t feel like I have to watch every single episode or I’ll be completely confused when I watch the next one.Plus, I can watch the show while flipping through a magazine or checking my Google Reader and still follow the action.

5. Something’s amiss. Like I said, the guy who brings them back into the spy game (played by Major Dad himself, Gerald McRaney) has another reason for bringing them back that they don’t know about. Now, because I watched Alias, I’m thinking that it might be that he’s not really with the CIA and they’re being played but I hope that’s not the case because, well, Abrams has done that already. It’s not an all-engrossing mystery right now, which is good because, like I said above, I don’t know if I’m looking for another highly-involved and complicated show.

So, I’m interested enough to keep tuning in, which is better than I felt after watching The Event.

Best Of The Best Trade Post: Preacher Volumes 1-3

Written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Steve Dillon
Collects Preacher #1-7
Preacher, like Starman, is one of my all-time favorite comic books. Also like Starman, I read Preacher all the way through for the first time while I was an intern at Wizard. Everyone was raving about it and I knocked out both series’ in 9 weeks with some other stuff. I read the whole thing through a while back when I triumphantly got all the trades either through Swap or cheap trade bins at cons (what can I say, I’m cheap). Over the weekend, I got it in my head that I wanted to re-read it again for the third time and damn, I’ve been having a great time. I’m three trades in and wish I could read faster because it’s SO GOOD.

Between my second and third readings, the Totally Rad Show guys talked about Garth Ennis and host Dan Trachtenberg said that Preacher is his favorite piece of fiction ever. That stuck in my head and have been thinking about it a lot while reading. And, while I do think the book relies a bit heavily on coincidence, I’m starting to think I might agree with him. It’s definitely my favorite comic book. But I should probably talk about why. Be warned, SPOILERS follow.

For one thing, the book starts out brilliantly. We begin with our three main heroes Jesse Custer (the titular Preacher and star of the book), his former girlfriend Tulip and Cassidy (the vampire). Sure, that might sound like the beginning of a joke, but I appreciate that Ennis starts his book with the group, who has just met up, talking about what happened. Sure, it’s a little exposition-y, but I prefer this way more to a lot of current team books that feel the need to explain every step without getting right into the action. The action I’m speaking of, is that Jesse–an actual preacher–just had an escaped prisoner from heaven named Genesis jump into his body, killing everyone in the town instantaneously. Turns out Genesis is the spawn of an angel and a demon and was imprisoned because he was a new idea. Gensis living inside Jesse means that he has what Tulip dubbed “The Word” which means, when he speaks in red fonts, anyone who understands him has to do whatever he says.

The first volume explains how these three came together (Jesse and Tulip dated, but he ran out five years ago. After a botched assassination attempt, she tried to steal Cassidy’s truck, but the two wound up traveling towards Jesse together), hints at everyone’s shadowy pasts, introduces us to Arseface and his asshole dad as well as some angels and raises the Saint of Killers from his slumber to go after Custer. It’s dense, but not hard to follow (strange as that might sound). The second half of the book features Cassidy taking Tulip and Jesse to NYC (a recurring setting in the book) where he tries to get them help through an old friend. It doesn’t end well.

Here’s what I love about the book: Jesse Custer, for all his faults–and he has lots–he’s a good man and a true hero. He does the right thing (as far as he’s concerned) and doesn’t let anything get in his way. Sure, it helps that he can make any English speaking person do whatever he says, but I get the feeling he’d at least try regardless. There’s a lot to Jesse Custer, which is good because that’s what the whole series is about.

Written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Steve Dillon
Collects Preacher #8-17
Until The End Of The World helps us understand Jesse Custer even better as we’re introduced to his Grandmother and henchmen, a meaner group of people you’ve never seen before. Jigsaw from the Saw flicks read this book and was like “Whoa, ease up.” To give you an idea, not only did they shoot Jesse’s dad right in front of him when he was five, but they also had a tendency to lock the boy in an airtight coffin and drop him in the lake. For weeks, sometimes months, which is when he started talking to an imaginary John Wayne. As you might expect, these aren’t the type of family members you want to spend a Sunday brunch of barbecue with. In fact, you might just want to barbecue the lot of them and be done with it.

This trade has one of my favorite “villain getting beat” moments of all time. After seeing Tulip get shot in the face right in front of him and reliving all the terrible moments of his life that these people inflicted on him, Jesse gets a good talking-to by the Duke, gets himself free and sets out to kick some redneck ass. If it was a movie, I would raise my fists in the air and yell every time I read it, but since it’s a comic, I’d drop it on my foot or something, so I just get really excited. Think of that moment in every movie where the asshole bad guy finally gets what’s coming to him and put it onto a comic page. That’s how it is!

But that’s not all! The second half of the book reunites our trio of heroes (Cass took a little vacay at the end of the first), sets them on the trail of some people involved with the death of his girlfriend, meets Herr Starr and the Grail an Armageddon-obsessed Christian group with people EVERYWHERE and the ridiculously over the top Jesus de Sade, thrower of the grossest sex and drug parties ever committed to fiction. Which brings up an element of the book that keeps me from recommending it to everyone: it’s kind of gross. You’ll see and hear about just about every outside-the-box sexual practice ever committed or thought about. There’s lots of drug usage and references and I would imagine hardcore Christians would be highly offended (the Grail has been making sure the descendants of Jesus–the religious figure, not de Sade–have been inter-mingling to keep the bloodline pure, resulting in, well, an incestuous mess. I was raised Catholic and know where a lot of the imagery comes from, but it doesn’t bother me. So if any of those things are sacred cows (or cows you want to avoid altogether) this is not the book for you. However, if you want to challenge yourself, give it a shot (unless you’re related to me, I don’t want you guys thinking I’m a huge weirdo for loving this comic so much, I swear, it’s the story not the weird sex parties I like).

Written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Steve Dillon
Collects Preacher #18-26
This third volume of Preacher fills in some more holes in Jesse’s dad’s story as Jesse happens to meet up with his dad’s old army buddy Space and discovers where his dad’s lighter came from (John Wayne gave it to him) and an idea of the kind of man he was (a lot like Jesse is now, as it turns out, a good man who doesn’t take any shit). After that, the story focuses on Jesse and Tulip heading after Cassidy who was captured by the Grail who thought he was Jesse. The ruse doesn’t last long and things get even hotter at the Grail locale as the All Father (the big–literally–boss shows up with the aforementioned descendant of Jesus). See, Herr Starr wants to kill the child and tell the world that Jesse is the actual descendant because he can make anyone do whatever he wants. As you might expect, Jesse doesn’t like this plan too much. Once again, he ignores the huge odds against him, storms the castle, saves his friend, meets Genesis’ dad, makes Starr’s head look like a penis thanks to a knife wound and makes a deal with the Saint of Killers. The bad part? He left Tulip behind after arguing with her the whole trip about her joining him in battle. As Jesse explained, it’s just in a man to want to protect his woman, can’t be helped.

Before we discover what happens with Tulip (if you’re reading the books in order it will take a while as the next installment collects all the minis and one-shots about side characters) we hang out with Jesse and Cass in NYC again as Cass tells Jesse about his origin (not just how he became a vampire, but why he was where he got turned and what he did afterwards). After coming to America, Cass falls in love with NYC and the country as a whole. Is it weird that one of the most touching pieces of writing about this country of ours comes from an Irish writer and through the mouth of an Irish vampire?

Reading this comic makes me want to be a better man and I don’t mean that in a Jack Nicholson-in-As Good As It Gets way. I mean like a damn man, a cowboy. Someone who stands up for what they believe in, doesn’t take any shit and isn’t so damn worried about what other people will think about him that he won’t ask the guy at the coffee shop what he was talking about with someone else if it interests him. Anyway, the book with all of its craziness and bravado just gets me so pumped up. I know there are some really down moments coming up and I don’t even care. I’m jazzed to be going on this journey again. I thin I’ll be done by next week, though I may split the posts up. We’ll see. In the meantime cowboy up!

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Super Shogun Stormtrooper

Yeah, this blew up all over the internet last week, but I already had a TCT, so it waited for a week. I’ve been a very outspoken proponent of Super7‘s awesome 2-foot tall super Shogun Stormtrooper figures with their track wheels and spring-loaded fists. I can’t wait for the entire Star Wars universe to be done in this style. Gimme Yoda!

Series Premiere: The Event

The ad campaign behind NBC’s The Event seemed very intent on making it seem like the next Lost. Something mysterious happens to an ensemble cast and we’re meant to put the pieces together as the series goes on, presumably. The missus and I were curious enough and there wasn’t another show at the same time we wanted to watch, so we watched the first episode. It was alright, but definitely feels like someone was taking notes while a relative talked about Lost. You’ve got a story told completely out of order, focusing on different characters, but while the previously mentioned show did that over a season, The Event does it in one episode. It’s a bit much to take in. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention while Jason Ritter hung out with the girl he wanted to propose to, so I missed the time tags they threw up onscreen to tell you when things were taking place in relative order.

Here’s what I gathered from the story (SPOILERS AHOY). There’s a group of people being held against their will Guantanamo Bay-style, but in a frozen wasteland (makes me think of The Thing). We’re never told why they’re there or who they are, though the President (Blaire Underwood) seems to have just found out about it. Right before he was going to talk to their leader on the news, he was evacuated thanks to an impending terrorist attack. Since I wasn’t paying attention to the time tags, I’m not exactly sure what the actual event is. It might be that some blue ball of energy appeared out of nowhere and disappeared a passenger plane aimed right at the President and his family (the aforementioned terrorist attack). How the plane got aimed at the President and who was involved made up the earlier part of the episode with lots more characters introduced.

Frankly, I wasn’t that drawn into the story. The characters were okay, but seemed fairly one-note right now, though that might not be a fair judgment this early on. Ritter wants to find his girlfriend whose presence on a cruise ship–along with his own–has been completely covered up. The President is a good man wanting to find out what’s going on. I don’t know, nothing really grabbed me. Sure, I’m curious to find out what the deal with the big flash was. Are they shapeshifting aliens? Probably. That’s my guess at least, though I’ve got this weird idea that magic might be involved somehow. Or, hey, maybe it’s four-toed gods. Anyway, it’s not the kind of thing I’m dying to understand and feel like if another show popped up opposite, I’d be just as content reading what happened on Wikipedia or finding out from a friend who watched. Speaking of which, anyone else watch it? Thoughts?

Favorite Commercial Actor Dan O’Brien In Notre Dame Ad!

I actually first saw this commercial like three weeks ago when the college football season started. I thought it was a Staples commercial which is why it took me so long to track down. Considering the Xerox ad combines my favorite commercial actor Dan O’Brien and my favorite college football team Notre Dame, I was pretty stoked the first time I saw it. Then they repeated the damn thing about 30 times through the course of the game and I was less impressed. Oddly enough, I didn’t see it play at all during the second game of the season against Michigan (a heartbreaker) and completely missed the game last weekend, so I’m not sure if it ran. Anyway, this is the same guy from commercials for places like Dave & Busters, Staples and Yellow Pages. I’m hoping by this time next year he’ll have his own sitcom. Make it happen Hollywood.

Season Premiere: How I Met Your Mother Season 6 “Big Days”

Good fiction is like a house. Complex characters make up the foundation of the house and then the story is built on top of them. Good storytellers really engineer this and crappy ones kind of pile things up making shakey houses that might seem okay, but don’t hold up. If the characters aren’t solid the house falls down. Luckily CBS’s How I Met Your Mother has an incredibly solid foundation with it’s leads Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Marshall (Jason Segel), Ted (Josh Randor), Robin (Colbie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). What worries me is that series creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are spending TOO much time solidifying the foundation and working on the walls, but don’t have a plan for the roof.

Okay, I should explain myself. The conceit behind HIMYM is that Ted in the future (voiced by Bob Saget) is explaining to his son and daughter how he met their mother. It’s been going on for six seasons starting tonight. I love the show because the characters are fantastic and the show has a lot of heart without being too corny. They also use a lot of storytelling methods that really borrow well from previous works in film and television. We’ve seen Ted move his way through plenty of relationships with many of hints as to the identity of his future wife. In Season 3 we were told that Ted’s future wife would have a yellow umbrella. In 4 Ted got the umbrella. That same season we also found out that Ted’s one-time girlfriend Cindy lived with the woman who would be his wife.

So, tonight’s season premiere started with quite the tease (SPOILERS AHEAD): some time in the future we see Ted in a tux at a wedding and Marshall bringing him a beer. It appears to be his wedding. Then, the episode jumps to the present. Most of the episode takes place in MacLaren’s (the bar our characters frequent). Lily and Marshall were planning on trying to conceive that night, but Marshall’s dad sent a crib and Lily got angry that Marshall was talking to him about their baby plans. Out of nowhere, we find out that Marshall’s really close to his dad (I don’t believe this was an aspect of the character before today, more foundation building). There’s lots of fun here with Marshall doing a little Cyrus-from-The-Warriors impression and bits with Marshall warning everyone from touching him because he’s been saving up for the night. There’s also a really sweet moment at the end where Marshall tells Lily she could never disappoint him.

The thrust of the episode involves Ted scoping a hottie at the bar out for a while. Barney comes in and calls dibs. Then, it turns out that the girl knows Ted’s ex Cindy. Is this the wife?! Nope, it’s not. Turns out, Ted never saw the roommate (just her ankles and she was wearing boots at the bar, so no chance of IDing her) and his breakup with Cindy made her reevaluate her life. She tells Ted this and it all felt very obvious that she was now a lesbian, presumably with the girl at the bar, but they wait another commercial break to tell us this. Meanwhile, Robin’s still bummed that her boyfriend Don left and has turned into what looks and apparently smells like a homeless person. Barney gives her some trouble, saying she’s lost her hotness. Robin disappears and comes back all sundressed-up. Methinks Barney did all this on purpose and might be smitten with Robin again (the two dated for a while, but broke up).

But then, we get the big surprise at the end (I think they telegraphed the lesbian thing, so you’d guess that and then not expect yet another surprise). Future Ted explains to his kids that he didn’t meet their mother that night, he met her at a wedding. They then cut to the wedding from the beginning of the episode and it turns out that Ted’s the best man at the wedding, not the groom. So, unless Bays and Thomas want to bring up another character who would randomly have Marshall and Ted as groomsmen (they were wearing matching tuxes) and Lily as a bridesmaid (ugly purple dress with a bouquet of flowers), it’s got to be Barney, right? Let’s hope so. The missus and I are hoping he’s marrying Robin who was conspicuously missing from the flashforward (it’s weird how Lost-like the show is starting to feel in my head).

Back to my initial metaphor, we got a lot more foundation with some more structure building. There’s enough to support that damn roof, so it’s got to be time soon to put it on right? Contrary to the title of the show, I don’t think it needs to end once Ted meets the wife. Part of the mystery might be gone, but then we get to see what happens between Young Ted and his new bride, plus all those other characters who can support their own roof. Hell, you can always put an addition on right? On the other hand, I’m a big fan of the British Office model of finishing a show when it makes sense. Much as I would miss How I Met Your Mother if it were to end, I’d be more upset if it ended poorly and I felt like I wasted all these seasons watching (something that some Lost fans felt, though not me). Here’s hoping the sixth season actually introduces the friggin’ wife!