Tuesday, November 29, 2011

10 (except really 12) TV Shows I'm Thankful For

Keeping in the spirit of my last post, I'm going to write about 10 (except really 12) TV shows I'm thankful for. I couldn't narrow the last two down. Again, these are listed in no particular order.

1. Spaced

I didn't actually see this until the last couple of years which is weird since I've had a major crush on Simon Pegg a lot longer than that. All I can say is I'm sad I didn't see this years and years and years ago. All that time I could have had with the hilarity that is Spaced. The collective genius of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost (not to mention the crazy awesome rest of the cast) is given to us for the very first time in 14 fantastic episodes. Seriously some of the funniest characters I've ever seen came from this show. Don't watch the pilot of the American remake. Awful...

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Oh, Buffy. My love affair with this show is eternal. It may be tied for first place in my list of favorite TV shows, but if you took out the comedy category, Buffy would totally win (even though it's really funny still). I was first introduced to Buffy when I was 15 by my sister, Sara. I watched it begrudgingly at first, but I quickly fell in love with the show's wit, charm, and kick-a$$ female characters (I would later call that "feminism"). Also I kind of fell in love with Spike (Angel's lame. His hair sticks straight up and he's bloody stupid). 

Anyway, I was a closeted fan for several years until college. However, one day I stepped out of the Buffy closet and it was no longer my guilty pleasure. I wear my love (some would even say "obsession") on my sleeve. I tell my feminist friends who pooh-pooh this show as stereotyping and sexualizing that no, no, Joss Whedon is a self-identified feminist and he writes some of the most amazing female characters I've ever seen. He writes awesome male characters too, but those aren't as hard to come by. 

Sure, the first couple of seasons are campy and Angel TOTALLY sucks in this show (thank goodness he's only in 3 of the 7 seasons), but it really is worth watching. Even if you think you won't like it - give it a chance. I did, and almost 10 years later I'm planning a birthday party for my favorite heroine. 

Awesome things to come from Buffy: Angel (I like him in his show, just not Buffy's), Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Alyson Hannigan, Tom Lenk, Spike, Andrew, "that'll put marzipan in your pie plate bingo", the whole vampires-are-awesome thing, the first lesbian kiss on network TV, and the coolest female characters on television. 

3. Arrested Development

If I was listing these in order, this would be first. Comedy is my favorite genre of TV show and Arrested Development is the funniest and smartest show that has ever been or ever will be on television. I honestly can't imagine a world where there is a show that is better than Arrested Development. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is highly improbable. I will forever hate Fox for killing this after only 2 1/2 seasons. I will forever love Netflix for picking up the 10ish episodes to watch in 2013 and Twitter for allowing Will Arnett to tell me the good news while he peed next to Jason Bateman. I have never known anyone that has seen this and didn't like it and I don't think I ever will know anyone like that. If I do, we weren't meant to be friends anyway. 

4. Dexter

Everyone's favorite serial killer. I generally don't watch dramas often, and when I do, I rarely stay committed. That makes Dexter extra special. Sure, he's a sociopath who has zero reservations about killing people, but he only kills other bad guys, he's a really good father, a committed brother, and (generally speaking) wants to be a good person. It's that continual effort he makes that keeps me coming back, not to mention the awesome plot lines and crazy twists. I'll be honest, I'm not very interested in the bad guys this season (Colin Hanks really can't act), but I hated Lilah in the second season too and I got through it. And let's face it, a few mediocre (slash CRAZY annoying in Lilah's case) characters don't diminish the awesomeness that is Dexter. 

5. The Daily Show

If I could only watch one show for the rest of my life, it would probably be The Daily Show. If I had money to take one trip, it would be to see The Daily Show. If I could be a one-time home wrecker with no repercussions, it would be with Jon Stewart. If I could be famous for one thing, it would be something that got me onto The Daily Show. If I could meet one famous person, it would be Jon Stewart. If I got hit by a car but I somehow got to decide who the driver would be, it would be Jon Stewart. Are you starting to understand my devotion? Not only is this man my biggest celebrity crush, he's also kind of my hero. 

6. Parks and Recreation 

This got off to a rocky start. The six episodes that are the first season suuuuuuuuck. Leslie Knope was a Michael Scott clone and nothing about the show kept me interested which is why it took me two more seasons to start watching it. I'm oh so glad I did. It's currently the most consistently funny show on TV. Ron Swanson is one of the best characters ever written, and I pretty much always love Adam Scott. Rob Lowe's character is becoming really annoying, which just goes to show you that all good things must end, but it's still a fantastic show. 

7. Community

You better be watching this show. NBC recently benched it and it really does make me just so sad. Parks & Rec may be the most consistently funny, but when Community is on its game, it is hands down the funniest. It may be hit and miss, but generally it's closer to the bulls eye than not. It's very meta and introspective which makes it a super unique show. And that, by the way, is when it's usually dead on as far as perfect hilarity. I just love it so much. All I ask is just a season and a half more. Just get them through college like Dan Harmon planned on in the beginning. That's all they need. NBC, don't fail me. 

8. Pushing Daisies

Charming. Charming, charming, charming. Of the three shows Bryan Fuller created (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies), this one is the best (even though Wonderfalls is awesome and Dead like me is also good generally). I really can't describe how wonderful this show is. This was the saddest casualty of the writer's strike of 2007-2008. It never got the ratings back and ABC cancelled it after only 2 seasons. This deserved to go on much, much longer. It's always the very best that die early. 

9. Downton Abbey

One of Masterpiece Theater's finest. If you didn't watch the Emmy's this year, go see what show won a billion awards. It was Downton Abbey. It goes into depth with so many characters without being daunting or overwhelming. It's got wit, drama (the good kind), scandals, and Dame Maggie Smith. It bothers me when people are automatically turned off by period pieces. Let me tell you something: period pieces do not equal boring. Lame story equals boring and this is not even close to being a lame story. Season 2 has already come and gone in the UK, but it doesn't start here until January 8th. Can't wait!

10. Avatar: The Last Airbender 

My thanks needs to go to several people here: Scott Payne for planting the seed of interest, Mike Robertson for nourishing that seed, and Jacob Ashley for actually exposing me to it. This show is crazy awesome. It's light, it's intense, it's funny, it's exciting, and just plain fun. 

11. The IT Crowd
No, this isn't a show about a magic, floating couch. It is, however, the funniest show I've seen come out of the UK (it's been a really long time since I've watch The Office so I may not be objective here). I've heard people complain about the laugh track, but please don't hold that against this show because hilarity ensues in every episode. Mr. Bean had a laugh track, so stop being haters! Whatever you do though, don't watch the American pilot. Joel McHale replaces Chis O'Dowd's character and it just doesn't work (nor does any aspect of this version). O'Dowd plays an IT professional and he has that whole cute geek thing going on (although I totally find that attractive so I may be off on this assessment. Maybe he's just supposed to be a lame nerd). Anyway, Joel McHale cannot pull that off. He acts like he's trying to, but Joel is just too damn sexy. Seriously, he smolders me with his sexiness every time I see him and I just couldn't get past that. Nor could I get past the painful lack of good translation from British to American. Anyway, watch this show. And also anything Joel McHale is in (except maybe Spy Kids 4). 

12. Up All Night

Ok, this really doesn't belong on the list. It's fun and I watch it regularly, but compared to everything else, it's not that great. I'm just adding it on here because I would totally marry Will Arnett's character if I could. The stay-at-home-dad is pretty much my ideal situation someday and his character is the perfect amount of awesome, geek, hipster, and intellectual. So if you're ever curious to see my dream guy, watch a few episodes of this. That's not the only reason I watch it though - it really is funny :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

10 Movies I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving was a few days ago and blogs are full of gratitude. I'm going to partake in that as well, but just without the sap cause I'm not in the mood. Instead, I'm going to talk about 10 movies I'm thankful for. 10 movies that make my life better (in no particular order).

1. The Muppets

This movie has been occupying a lot of my thoughts lately. It's been out for 3 days and I've seen it twice. Yes, it's just as funny the second time. This movie just makes me so happy. I basically laugh the entire way though it. Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller did a phenomenal job writing something that could have been done by Jim Henson. The Muppets are long overdue for another movie as well as a resurgence in popularity. Jason Segal gave me a bit of a shock when he said that there is an entire generation of kids growing up who don't know The Muppets. Hopefully with this movie and their new show that will change. 

2. Amelie

Amelie might be my favorite movie of all time. It's quircky, it's charming, it's colorful, it's lovable, it's adorable, and just plain awesome. I'm never in the mood to NOT watch Amelie. I had never seen anything like it when I first watched it and I've never seen anything like it since (although Midnight in Paris is right up there). I fell in platonic love with Audrey Tautou when I saw this movie and few actors have captured my fancy like she did. It's also one of my favorite soundtracks (if not my very favorite). Everything about this movie is unique and just... charming. 

3. Midnight in Paris

This movie takes a close second to Amelie in terms of charm. First time I saw this film I smiled the entire time (and that's not an exaggeration at all). Really, charming is the best word to describe this movie. Owen Wilson is lovable in a way I haven't seen before and the plot line is light and refreshing even though it had the potential to be convoluted. It was just fun to see a time-travel movie that wasn't about time traveling. Rather, it was about people and experiences. If Amelie is my favorite soundtrack, this is again a close second. As of now they haven't released an official soundtrack and I'm having major trouble finding some of the songs to purchase. Hopefully Sony realizes its folly soon. I dare you to watch this movie and not love it. 

4.  Oscar

I just looked this up on Rotten Tomatoes because I realized I had never done that before. My jaw dropped when I saw that it is at 13%. To me, this is the perfect cult comedy. I realize not everyone is going to love it as much as I do, but I don't understand why. It's the only Sylvester Stallone movie I'll ever own because I typically can't handle his lack of acting, but I LOVE him in this. He, Marisa Tomei, and Tim Curry are just plain fantastic in this film. It makes me so sad that this movie isn't loved by everyone.

5. Breakfast at Tiffany's

Hands down, my favorite Audrey Hepburn film. Truman Capote wrote a great story and this movie is a perfect blend of his original idea and a great love story (aka mass appeal). I can't think Audrey Hepburn without Holly Golightly or vice versa. The poster for this movie hangs in my parent's basement (a Christmas present from me a while ago) and a woman in their ward commented on it once saying, "you do realize she was a prostitute, do you?" in a scandalized voice. But she really wasn't. She was a socialite, a society girl, and a carefree woman who just happened to take money from men. She's confused yet happy, and in my opinion, only really became confused after she met Paul Varjak (at least in the movie - the story in the book is quite a bit different). It's a simple boy meets girl story, but it's timeless.

6. Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/Paul

I can't pick one out of the three of these. Hot Fuzz wouldn't be without Shaun of the Dead, Paul wouldn't be without Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead, and none of them would be without Spaced (TV show so sadly not included in this list. Maybe I should do another blog for TV). Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright are the perfect comedic trio (even though Edgar wasn't involved in Paul - even though it's awesome, it probably would have been better with him) and each one is awesome independently. If I'm in the mood for a comedy, I'm going to be in the mood for one of these three.

7. Thoroughly Modern Millie

Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Charol Channing. 'Nuff said. This is movie is hilarious and is one of the most quotable movies ever. Really. I use "pook" on an almost daily basis cause it's one of my favorite exclamations. One of the first things my good friend Mike said to me when I met him was something about how my ring looked like the ring Mrs. Meirs wears in this movie. I liked him immediately because of that. Anyone who likes this movie is going to be awesome and it's as simple as that. 

8. Pride & Prejudice

I don't watch this nearly as often as I used to (I've discovered other BBC Miniseries like Wives & Daughters, North & South, Cranford, Jane Eyre...) but this is still the movie that I compare any period piece to. I constantly find similarities to this story in just about any chick flick. "He's such a Wickham" is a common phrase, any flawed yet changeable male character is compared to Mr. Darcy, and few female characters measure up to the witty and independent Elizabeth Bennett. On the surface it's the chick flick of all chick flicks, but if you really sit down and pay attention, it really is witty and shows some great character development. 

9. Bridesmaids 

This is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Kristen Wiig is a comedic genius and she wrote this so well. One of my favorite things about this movie is that it goes to show you that a comedy featuring a predominately female cast (or even a single female character that isn't objectified for the benefit of male viewers) can have mass appeal to both men and women of pretty much any age. It debunked the idea that women as good story tellers as men, particularly when it comes to comedy. If you don't think this is a big deal, you're wrong. It totally is. 

10. Birdemic: Shock and Terror

This movie is going down in history as one of the best worst movies of all time. The creator/director cited "The Birds" and "An Inconvenient Truth" as his inspiration. That should give you a small idea of just how horrifically awesome this movie is. In fact, here - go ahead and watch the trailer and judge for yourself. But please, watch this movie with the riff trax. You won't regret it (at least I didn't). Honestly, this has got to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my entire life, but I'm so glad it exists (and that they're working on a sequel). 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Time has been moving more quickly lately. Apparently that happens when you're enjoying something, or when you're busy. My life happens to be pretty heavily emphasizing the latter right now.

Monday: Job A 8-3, job B 3-7.
Tuesday: Job A 8-3, job B 3-7.
Wednesday: Job B 9-7.
Thursday: Job C 8-1, class 1:30-4:30, homework 4:30-7:30, fun Thursday night 7:30-10.
Friday: Class 8:30-2:00, working from home on jobs A and C for a while, then whatever the h@$% I want the rest of the weekend.

And let's not forget the commute from Orem to Salt Lake 4 of those days, none of which I'm driving all the way. It's either the express bus or driving to Sandy to take Trax.

I'm glad I'm getting done a few hours before bedtime now (that wasn't the case a bit ago).

I'm glad I usually have weekends to settle (although for some reason I can't find time to really clean up my space and it's starting to gross me out).

I'm glad I have a regular night of relaxation (even though I'm constantly worrying about driving the half hour home and getting up the next morning).

I'm glad I decided to not do any of my readings and to put as little effort into my assignments as possible (I have way more free time and I'm still getting As).

I'm glad I have 3 jobs that I like. It balances the 8 hours of class that I hate.

I'm not glad I wake up at 5:30 (I'm used to it now though - never though I had it in me).

I'm not glad that I spend 8 hours a week in classes that are either A) not in the least bit interesting to me; B) something I've learned either last year or in high school; or C) a combination of the two. Actually, two of my three classes are going over the exact same material we did last year and the third is a policy class that teaches me things I learned 8ish years ago or things that are just plain false like Congress is controlled by Republicans right now. Call me old fashioned, but I find it pretty unacceptable to be correcting your professor fairly regularly or watching School House Rock in a master's level course.

I'm not glad that I'm spending so much money on gas. Money I don't exactly have.

I'm not glad that my prospects of earning enough to pay off my student loans, car, apartment, and all the grand necessities of life are abysmal. Why I decided to rack up student loan debt in social work is beyond me.

Most of all though, I'm SO glad that I have 4 weeks left in the semester and 15 after that. That's the time I'm focusing on and no matter how busy I keep, it can't come fast enough.