Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls… Girls I Do Adore. Except for MARGARET SATI

I don’t think it’s much of a secret that the HBO show “Girls” is despised by a sizable chunk of the collective internet.  Since it’s debut in early 2012, I think I’ve read more hyperbolic hate written about creator Lena Dunham’s show than for any other of the much more deserving shows out there.  I’m looking at you, ENTIRE CBS LINEUP

And with January’s 2nd season premiere, it still hasn’t stopped.  You think that by this point, those who don’t like the show would have simply moved on, and watched something they actually enjoy.  But they haven’t, you see, because they are infuriated that this young woman didn’t have to, oh I don’t know, live through a Sudanese war or contract hepatitis C or some shit to get a TV deal.   She’s educated, and her parents weren’t broke, and she caught a break.    This is the reason we hate her??

Why aren’t we focusing our efforts on tweeting snarky hashtags about the segment of America that collectively invests in the vapid stylings of The Bachelor, or the crude fart factory that is Two and a Half Men?   Is is too easy?  Do we need to personally attack each and every single celebrity who ever existed in the history of ever?

So, instead of conducting an exhaustive search for all criticisms spread across the various blogs and websites out there, and then debunking the ridiculous and personal nature of most of these attacks, I’ve decided to randomly pick an article/blog that slams Girls from a “I hate Girls tv show” google search and tell the author why they are stupid.  And the winner is…

Reread number 1 on the list.  (Yeah, this is an interactive reading, don’t be lazy.)  The “voice of the generation” comment she refers to from the pilot episode has been insanely misinterpreted.  Hannah, the character Dunham plays, make a comment along the lines of she could be “the voice of her generation.  Or A voice of her generation.”  Her character says this to prevent her parents from cutting her off financially.  Oh, also, her character is supposed to be self involved and a little spoiled.  That’s kind of the point, the show is about her journey to adulthood.  Oh, AND when she says it, her character is high on OPIUM TEA.  So can we  pump the brakes a little on the critique of this specific line?  Jesus.  If everyone was defined by one particular line they used in desperation at the age of 23… Moving on.

#10 on her list (I’m making it too easy for you now) – “The way she looks is NOT what real women look like. Real women are not fat blobs who don’t care what they look like. People who said she looks real are confusing gross with real.”

What gorgeous metropolis of superhumans do you reside in, lady?  She looks a lot like 23 year old girls I knew either finishing college or just out of college, who don’t have an infinite amount of money to spend on clothes, makeup, diet, etc.  Also, as writer / star / sometimes director, she has the funds and authority to shoot herself in better light, from more flattering angles, with a better wardrobe.  And she doesn’t.  Because guess what? Life does not always allow you another take from a different angle.  Sometimes people just look shitty, and the guts it takes for a celebrity (and whether you like it or not, she is a celebrity) to show themselves in such an unflattering light, simply to maintain the realism of the show is incredible.  So… face

#9.  “Many people especially the main girls are played by daughters of famous people – Brian Williams and David Mamet to mention few. When Dunham was asked about nepotism she said “I was always pretty good at ignoring because it seemed so rooted in basic human jealousy and dislike of other people’s success. There’s just no other way to read that one.” What? I think she may need help. There is nothing wrong with making something with your friends, who just happen to have famous daddies. But at least own up to it.”

Yeah, because the DRUMMER FOR BAD COMPANY has such cultural cache that he can make his daughter a star by snapping his fingers.  Oh, wait, no he can’t, he’s the DRUMMER FOR BAD COMPANY.   Jesus Christ.  This is pretty funny, though.

I will, however, concede that one does not fuck with Brian Williams.  EVER.  Just don’t do it, you guys.

Anyway, I could continue to expertly dissect her idiotic reasons for not liking a television show.  But instead, I’ll just wrap it up and offer a small piece of advice.  If you like a show, watch it, if you don’t then don’t.  But I think we can all agree that nothing televised will ever top this.

– Stephen


Rant Time: This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Happy holidays everybody!  It’s almost X-Mas time!  That special time of year when a fully bearded diaper-wearing baby Jesus flies his rocket ship to Earth to deliver presents to all of the little girls and boys.  But only the Christian ones because the rest will burn in eternal hell fire.  Also, I think we hang stockings to prevent our daughters from becoming prostitutes.  Think I’m making that part up?  Google that shit.  It gets dark.  As we enter the holiday season, we must all take a moment to realize that now is a time for giving.  Or in the case of major TV networks, cruelly taking away the things we love.  And by things, I of course mean some of the best and most creative shows on TV.  Sweeps season moves in like a chill winter wind to blow away all of the shows not bloated enough with ratings to be anchored down.  It’s usually right about now when we start to find out if we’ll be seeing our favorite characters coming back next year to fill our hearts with springtime joy.  And as usual, the major networks are killing off every show that seems to have something going for it on the creative side.  Let’s take a look at some of the fan favorite shows that may soon be unjustly cancelled so networks can air a new reality show called Morbidly Obese Fuckin Hoarder Sister Wives of Little People County.  We’ll see why we should treasure the time we have left with them before the plug gets pulled.


She hoards food in her colon. That’s nature’s hiding place.


First things first, Community.  This show has been on life support since season one.  Easily the most creative (and probably funniest) major network show to drop since Arrested Development, Community is the greatest show on TV that no one is watching.  No one…at all.  The rock solid cast features the best group of rising stars I’ve ever seen.  Joel McHale will soon be a major Hollywood player.  Count on that.  Between Community and Mad Men, Allison Brie will be a leading lady on TV or film.  Donald Glover is turning into a renaissance man with his TV, standup, and music careers.  And those are just the top three!  Jim Rash won an Oscar last year and he’s not even one of the main cast!  This show made Chevy Chase relevant again.  Need I say more?  He’s getting Old Navy commercials!  That’s the big time.  You remember Chevy Chase right?  He had his own talk show.  You probably didn’t see it.  


Chevy’s show was just like The Magic Johnson show, but with much less HIV

In Community, Dan Harmon created a self aware show that features the best use of pop culture references in ever.  They’ve had the Zombie episode, Call of Duty episode, Glee episode, Breakfast Club episode, and Super Dark Christmas Special just to name a few.  Omar from The Wire is a faculty member!  But the show isn’t just about being clever for the sake of being clever.  Community actually makes you give a damn about its characters.  You can relate to and understand people that aren’t limited by their archetypes.  You don’t get to that with sub-par writing.  Almost every episode is strong and all of them featured at least a few laugh out loud moments.  Dan Harmon invested himself in the writing of every episode and it definitely shows.  And now he’s fired.  Thanks NBC.  The show also got moved to Friday nights.  Thanks again.  The season four premier has been delayed indefinitely and now there’s new leadership at NBC.  Doesn’t look good for our heroes, does it?  Do I sound bitter?  Of course I’m bitter.  This is the funniest show on TV, but ‘Murica would rather watch the same ole’ recycled comedy crap on CBS instead.  Let’s move on before my eyes start bleeding.  Thanks for the memories Community.  May the DVD sales be with you.

Do yourself a favor and watch this show.  It'll make Danny Pudi happy.

Do yourself a favor and watch this show. It’ll make Danny Pudi happy.

Next show? Parks and Rec.  This is another show that’s been dodging the chopping block since day one.  If I had to choose one show that could be better than Community, it would be this one.  Amy Poehler leads another rock star cast in an “Office style” docu-comedy that out performs The Office in every way imaginable.  I don’t get the ratings on this one.  Did everyone just assume it was an Office knockoff and skip it?  I’m about to drop some knowledge on you.  The Office is a knock off of The Office and people seemed to like that.  I will admit that Parks took a season to find its footing.  However, starting with season two, there isn’t another show that I would recommend that everyone would be able to “get”.  I can understand how Community wouldn’t be someone’s cup of tea, but there are no excuses for not giving Parks and Rec. a shot.  It’s just plain great TV.  Nothing has been confirmed about a cancellation, but TV buzz indicates that this season could be the last due to the executive shake up at NBC.  Another one may be biting the dust.

NBC's new head of programming.  He thinks the spring lineup will be simply ghoulish.

NBC’s new head of programming. He thinks the spring lineup will be simply ghoulish.

The last great show that may be meeting its maker is Happy Endings.  I’ll admit that I’m pretty new to the Happy Endings party.  I’d heard good things here and there but I could never be bothered to watch.  I suppose I’m as much to blame as anyone for not checking it out sooner.  This season is the first that I’ve actually committed to watching and now I’m hooked.  The cast has noticeable on-screen chemistry and there’s not a weak character in the bunch.  I want to know and hang out with these people.  They’re so much more fun than most of my real friends.  You know who you are.  Happy Endings is like the chick you meet at a party one night and the two of you just completely hit it off.  You like all the same bands and you both laughed at the guy that fell off the porch and wound up going to the hospital.  You just plain get each other.  And then you find out that she’s moving to Canada soon and you’ll never see her again.  ABC is moving your dream girl to Canada against her will.  Bummer.  And lest my wife think that I actually met Canada girl, I assure you that she’s about as real as my sobriety.  So…not.  I will say that Happy Endings has enjoyed a ratings boost as of late so I may still have a chance with this chick. 

They're just like your friends.  Except way way hotter.

They’re just like your friends. Except way way hotter…even the dude at the bottom.

So who do we have to thank for taking away all of our favorite shows?  That would be the good people at the Nielsen company and their magical rating system.  Here’s a brief summary of that whole situation.  In the 1920’s, some guy came up with a rating system for radios.  Then in the 50’s, they put the same system in place for TV’s.  Every year, a miniscule number of people are selected to determine whether or not shows will stay on the air.  Seriously, it’s like .02% of the population.  How many of those people do you think have the ability to form a coherent thought?  I’m going to go ahead and say half of that number.  The selection process is determined by drawing random names out of a really, really big hat.  Whatever these silly bastards choose to write down that they liked watching is what gets to stay on the air.  And that’s how Two and a Half Men keeps making Chuck Lorre big hat’s full of money. 

This fine fellow represents 10,000 viewers.  You are one of them.

This fine fellow represents 10,000 viewers. You are one of them.

Some of you may be saying to yourselves, “Hey, this is the internet age.  Why don’t we just develop a new, more accurate ratings system that measures online streaming numbers or something like that?”  Because fuck you, that’s why.  They don’t wanna change the system.  And now my ears are ringing and my nose just started bleeding.  Time for my aneurism.  To quote a wise man during this Christmas season, “Hallelujah!  Holy Shit!  Where’s the Tylenol?

– Josh

Widow’s Peaks, and Why I Don’t Watch Homeland

Claire Danes and I have a complicated relationship.  As a chubby, precocious 14 year old growing up in a small town, Angela Chase was my manic pixie dream girl before it was a thing.  And without the pixie size.  Or manic behavior.  She was actually pretty low key, now that I think about it.  But man, I loved her.

The poetry of the 90's.  No wonder everyone hated us.

The poetry of the 90’s. No wonder everyone hated us.

In a town populated with mostly homely women (aka blondes) that showed little interest in a boy who shaved his widow’s peak (because it was seriously out of control, you guys), I was on an island of celibacy.  I didn’t make out with girls in 8th grade.  I just wasn’t that guy.  I was the guy who shaved his widow’s peak.

You thought I was going to post a picture of Eddie Munster, didn't you?  Don't be a dick

You thought I was going to post a picture of Eddie Munster, didn’t you? Don’t be a dick

Side note, I did it because I thought it looked absolutely hideous, and I wanted a straight hair line across my forehead.  What I didn’t realize is even though I shaved it, there was still stubble.  So I “Naired” it.  That’s right, I put fucking Nair on my forehead.  And guess what?  There was still a shadow.  So then I put a BAND AID on my forehead, and pretended I somehow cut my forehead for two weeks.  I was a weird kid.

Anyway, I loved My So Called Life.  I mean, obviously.  It wasn’t about happiness, or everything working out.  People fought and didn’t make up in the same 30 minutes.  And, also… Brian MF Krakow.  My So Called Life was the realest thing ever.  Like The Wire for teen angst.  Which means Jordan Catalano was Omar Little.

I shot the boy Mike-Mike in his hind parts, that all.

I shot the boy Mike-Mike in his hind parts, that all.

So 1994-95 was a special time in my life.  A time when I didn’t feel like I was the only one who wasn’t taking a Kelly Kapowski-type out behind the school and getting her pregnant.


After that moment in history, I kept waiting for for Angela Chase / Claire Danes to reappear and sweep me off my feet again.  Even at an early age, I had a hard time separating the actor from the role.  But unfortunately, the rest of her IMDB page reads like the kind of stuff I go out of my way to avoid, a laundry list of things like

“How to Make an American Quilt”

“To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday”

“Les Miserables”

“The Mod Squad”

“The Hours”

I'd much rather watch this

I’d much rather watch this

You get the gist.  Oh sure, you can throw in a “Romeo+Juliet” here and a “Terminator” there, but really, don’t both of those things suck?  And now, I’m at a point where I just can’t help but notice that as an actress, I hate Claire Danes.


“I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.”

angela 2

“I’ve never been to a cabin with you, you psychopath.  I’m sorry if that hurts”

angela 3

“Just… Just don’t cry, okay?”

angela 4


I don’t hate her because she’s necessarily bad.  She’s just like Julianne Moore and Andie McDowell.  I don’t particularly like their brand of blandness.  So I won’t watch Homeland.  Probably ever.  I’ve heard it’s good, but I don’t care.  If you are interested, here are some people who say it’s good blah blah blah,269/

So watch if you must.  But I think I’ll stick to my MSCL DVD collection.

– Stephen

Anywhere But Home for the Holidays and Further Housekeeping Matters

First, dear readers, a mea culpa for no article last week.  Thanksgiving family time, a busy work schedule and the disgusting Cowboys performance left a bad taste in my mouth.  I needed an escape, I needed the beach, I needed a really good buffet and questionable shore excursions…

So I left the country entirely for a week long cruise with my girlfriend.  At some point I’ll be posting a bunch of pics to disgust and annoy all of my FB friends, but I’ll only make you look at a few.  I want to keep your hatred of me to a minimum, because later there will be IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KEEP YOU ALIVE FOR GOD’S SAKE.  I don’t want you being so angry at my happiness that you quit reading.



Congratulations, you’ve made it through the first gauntlet.  You’ve reached the “I don’t like you, but damn it I respect you” stage.  On to other matters.

It’s December finally, which is to be quite honest the best time ever.  Not only do I get double the presents (I was born in December) and a few free days off of work, I get to see my family again (who are giving me presents this time AS IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE).  Also, it really is better to give than receive.  For instance, I bought three of the item below.  So if you are one of my friends, this is a very exciting time in your life.  I may have gotten one of them for you!


Anyway, I know that some of you out there may not like Christmas.  It’s probably because you don’t watch enough TV, to be quite honest.  Because holiday episodes are the best.  See below for confirmation.

Finally, and I’m just gonna come out and say it because I gave up on pride a long time ago, WE NEED WRITERS.  If you know any, please send them our way.  This was started as a communal blog between Josh and I, and we want to include anyone who loves something about television.  It can be one specific program or the general idea of television.  It can be an article every week or every third January.  If you want to write something, contact us.  We’ll put it up.  I just want it to be all inclusive.  It should be a forum for the most consistent media/art form we as Americans observe/participate in.  If you want to write a 30 page dissertation about the tribal council of Survivor and its implications on American society, DO IT.  If you want to write a 30 word twitter feed article about the hotness of the new Bachelorette’s boobs, DO IT.  We’ve had a few contributors, whom I greatly appreciate.  I know writing is a daunting task, and you are worried it won’t be good.  But it doesn’t matter if it’s good, we’ll post it.  Because, folks, we simply have no shame.

– Holiday hugs and kisses from Stephen and all both of us here at MSCTVB

Becoming a Pro: A TV Slacker’s Guide to Learning to Watch Golf

The ability to play professional sports isn’t for everyone.  I get that.  However, everyone has enough talent to watch and understand sports on TV.  But you can’t just run in all willy nilly and watch while expecting to know exactly what’s going on.  Try that and you’re liable to pull an eye-muscle.  Even worse, you could embarrass yourself in front of your friends/cats by demonstrating an abhorrent lack of sports knowledge.  To combat the risk of injury and/or public shaming, I’ve decided to create a series of guides for learning to watching sports on TV like a pro.  You may be asking why I would do such a thing.  To that I say, “Shut up.  This is the internet and I can do whatever the damn I want.”  Besides, if you live in real ‘Murica, you need to know how to talk sports.  Sports are what you talk about to someone you really don’t know but still don’t mind talking to.  And ladies, you want to demonstrate value to a guy you just met?  Know what you’re talking about when it comes to sports.  Swear to God, being able to explain the infield fly rule is the equivalent of telling a guy that you want to invite one of your lady friends into the bedroom.  And guys, know your sports.  I shouldn’t have to explain this shit to you.  First sport?  The greatest game ever played.  Golf.

Truly this is the sport of kings.

Let me start by saying that most people I know don’t like watching golf…ever.  They claim it’s slow and not entertaining enough.  Well I say that they’re wrong.  And you’re wrong for agreeing with them.  Golf is great.  And watching golf is great.  And you’re still wrong.  So very, very wrong.  And I’m going to show you how to like it.  Or at least how to feign interest long enough to get through a conversation at a bar.  Golf is mos def a talking sport now.  Thanks to Tiger Woods and Nike, golf is growing into one of the biggest sports in the world and it’s not slowing down.  The common people understand it now and so should you.  Let’s get to the basics of playing so you kinda know what the hell is going on.

Soon we will buy you as well.

The Mission: Your objective is to use various clubs to hit a ball into a small hole located a few hundred yards away in as few strokes (hits) as possible.  You normally do this 18 times and add up your total at the end.  The lower the total, the better you did.  Still with me?  Didn’t think so.  Let’s move on and maybe you’ll pick up more as we go.


The Equipment: You get a set of sticks that are usually made of metal.  For our purposes, we’ll refer to these sticks as “golf clubs”.  Additionally, you get a little ball made of rubber that’s wrapped in a magical shell of plastic.  We’ll call that a “golf ball”.  That’s all you need.  There rest is fluff. 

The Fluff:  There are hundreds of things that fall in this category.  Some of them are vital to the enjoyment of golf.  Some aren’t.  However, all experts agree that the most important addition to any round of golf is booze.  Yes my friend.  Drinking is not only allowed while playing golf, it’s encouraged.  In fact, hot girls will drive around in carts and bring you booze while you’re playing and pretend to like you so you’ll pay them more money like it’s a damn mobile Hooters.  Some would say that those girls have an easy profession.  Others would say they have the oldest profession.  But if you’re a guy and what I just said didn’t make you want to start playing golf right the damn now, I’m sure we can find you a cart guy too. Either way, start drinking.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t done the same thing once.

 The basics of golf sound easy enough right?  It’s really easy to learn.  Of course it’s very hard to be good at playing golf. But we’re not worried about being good.  We’re worried about watching people that are good on TV.  Let’s keep this party train movin.

If you don’t already have an appreciation for golf, it can be hard to start watching it right away.  The common man may find it boring.  And that’s why golf has spiced that shit up.  If you’re going to start watching golf on television, you absolutely must start with the Ryder Cup.  What is the Ryder cup you say?  It’s only the most entertaining sporting event this side of the Super Bowl.  The Ryder cup pits American and European golfers against each other in a scene of xenophobic glory.  Every two years, the best golfers in the world put aside there differences and unite to hate everyone that lives on the other side of the ocean.  It’s beautiful really.  And the networks know it.  Every time the Ryder Cup nears its return, NBC stirs up enough patriotic hate to reignite the Revolutionary War.  It’s that awesome.  The crowds are into it.  The announcers are into it.  You’ll be into it….two years from now…when the next one is held.  This post is nothing if not timely.  But if you’re going to talk golf with someone, always bring up the Ryder Cup.  And tell them you cheered for the U.S.  Or be a dick and say that you rooted for the Euros.  I don’t really care.

I cheer for Merica, cause I’m Mercan.

The other key part of learning to watch golf on TV is to pick a favorite golfer.  Golf isn’t just a sport full of stuffy white guys that all look the same anymore.  That’s only like 60% of them now.  A really important part of looking like you know what you’re talking about is to pick a favorite golfer and learn some cool details about them.  “Did you hear about golfer’s – rape/drunk driving/hate crime acquittal?  Man that was crazy!  I wonder if he’ll play this weekend.”  To save you some time, here’s a list of some of the more popular golfers and the type of person that might like them.  Feel free to mix and match your favorites based on the person you’re speaking to/ethnic makeup of the room.

Tiger Woods – The Easy Pick – Liking Tiger Woods is really the same as liking the New York Yankees.  Nobody will argue that you shouldn’t like them.  It’s a generic pick sure.  But it’s a solid pick too.  Without Tiger, most people are going to tune out on Sundays.  He’s probably the single biggest reason golf is where it is today and he’ll stay the big draw until he retires.  Tiger is the choice for front runners everywhere.  If Tiger is your pick, your other favorite teams likely include the 90’s Cowboys, Lakers, Yankees, Heat, and Red Wings.  Sure they’re good, but unless you liked them before they were huge, most people think that you’re probably a poser.  But now Tiger has developed a bit of an edge.  A massively publicized affair followed by a messy divorce can do that.  Tiger is now the comeback kid for the PGA and is in the middle of his redemption phase.  Hop on the bandwagon before it’s too late. 

Bitch you already get half my stuff

 Rory McIlroy – The Up & Comer – Rory is quickly becoming the heir apparent to the golf throne.  This young Irish upstart has been picking up wins left and right this year and is the proud owner of the highest paid endorsement contract in Nike’s history.  Sports networks are hard at work creating a massive rivalry for him with Tiger Woods.  Don’t expect Rory to fade from the scene any time soon.  By taking McIlroy as your fav, you’re telling the world that you refuse to conform and go with the big crowd.  You’re going with the slightly smaller crowd instead in the hopes that it eventually turns into the big crowd.  Fans of Rory will probably also like the Red Sox, Knicks, or Patriots.  He’s not the most popular player in the sport, but you’re not exactly taking a risk by picking him as your #1.  Caution:  Being an Irishman, some “America only” fans may get bitter when you side with Rory.  Girls have been known to swoon over his accent.

Why yes, I was in Billy Elliot

Phil Mickelson – The Wild Card – Phil Mickelson is never a bad choice for your top golfer.  He’s kind of a member of the old guard of golf.  Pick him and people will nod their head like they understand exactly why he’s your fav.  You don’t even have to give a reason.  Just say that you’ve always been a Phil fan.  Mickelson has always been kind of a dick.  However, growing a bit older seems to have mellowed him out some.  Now he’s a really likeable dick.  Now he’s a fan favorite known for his risk taking and fearless play.  But it’s still golf, so it can’t be all that fearless.  He’s a high risk/reward type of player that you can almost always count on to melt down at some point.  White people love him because he’s not so threatening like that dark skinned fellow but still an American.  Fans of Phil tend to like to root for the underdog.  They also probably really like the Cubs.  I’m telling you, this is their year!

Awww fuck! At least I still have millions of dollars.

John Daly – The Drinkin Buddy – John Daly is a bit of an outlier these days.  He’s still around, but never really a threat to win it big.  If you’re new to golf, chances are you’ve never heard of him.  But in his day, Daly was the car wreck that you slowly drove past while hoping to see a head laying on the ground  A fat alcoholic cokehead with a batshit crazy wife and all the talent in the world, this Arkansas Razorback took ‘Murica by storm in the 90’s.  Not many guys could go on a coke binge, get in a fight with his wife, call the cops, and then make it to your tour event the next day with deep scratches all over his face.  Daly could.  If you play golf and have a problem with substance abuse, you have probably liked Daly at some point as well.  Die hard fans of John Daly like football and NASCAR…in that order…no exceptions.

Stay classy John

Bubba Watson – The Psycho – Bubba Watson is the new Kentucky Fried Golfer.  This Georgia native made it big this year by winning the Masters.  He’s so hot right now.  Bubba is currently the longest driver on the tour. (he can hit the ball real far)  He’s also a risk taker that loves to act lest his brain get in the way.  When Watson melts down, this fan favorite melts down big.  And really, when was the last time you met a Bubba that wasn’t changing your tire or raping kayakers that accidentally rowed into his neck o’ the woods.  Bubba is probably my favorite golfer on the tour.  Fans of Watson probably don’t mind a little crazy in their sports heroes.  Did I mention he’s crazy?  Yeah he’s crazy.  And he bought the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazard at an auction.

Bought this bitch straight cash!

There’s your golf watching starter kit.  If you like sports, go in with an open mind and I’m sure you’ll get hooked.  You gotta trust me on this one.  It’s worth it.  And since this is the internets, here’s your obligatory cat pic.


– Josh

The Walking Dead Giveth and The Internet Taketh

The Walking Dead is an odd duck.  I mean, thank God America finally got its act together and provided the world with a zombie TV show.  Instead of trying to watch the world fall apart, establish the survivors’ personalities, throw in some sex and conflict, and have all of your survival plans go to shit all in two hours or less, we get to follow these people weekly.  It gives it time to breathe, time for character development, blah, blah.  Also, MORE CARNAGE.

But seeing these people weekly also exposes just how underdeveloped, annoying, hollow, etc all of these characters can be.  It reveals the inconsistency in the writing of these people, and stretches the believability of the world when someone like CAROL OF ALL PEOPLE is somehow still alive in Season 3.  Although, to be fair, at least she’s no longer the meek wife who gets beat, or the grieving mother.  Now, she’s just a dirty old sexpot.

And oh my God, did The Walking Dead experience some growing pains.  Sure, when it first came out in 2010, the comic world rejoiced.  Finally, this incredible tomb of zombiedom would be realized in a more visual media.  Michonne!  The Governor!  Live and in color.  It was all I could do not to masturbate in a crowded living room on that fateful Halloween night.

They hated to see me like that. And they hated how I always wanted to cuddle after…

I think the fact that this show existed at all allowed most fans to overlook a few of the stinker moments in Season 1, including the infuriatingly ludicrous “Vatos”.   We wanted it to be good SOOO bad we fought through the filler, and the T-Bags of the show.  Because I mean, come on, there’s no way that son of a bitch is making it to Season 2.

The problem was that of all the networks to give the show a chance, the beloved AMC ended up being the home for TWD.  So while they would throw an occasional bone to us gore fans, they also spent an awful lot of time talking, trying to develop some sort of existential crisis or something like that.  Trying to be a prestige show really started to rub some uber fans the wrong way.  Also, this whole thing

Where’s Rick? I wanna whisper a secret to him…

And then Season Two happened…


To be fair, I recently rewatched Season Two marathon style, and it seems a lot less meandering when you just power through it in a few days.  It’s ALMOST good television (or maybe I’m just defending it again).  Also, DARYL MOTHERFUCKING DIXON, THE MOST BADASS DUDE EVER PEOPLE:

Oh, right. Sorry, I’ll keep my voice down and get back to the article.

But when they were released, the internet exploded.  It provided great laughs, for sure, including these…



In other words, the greatest thing to ever happen to my work day.  I lived a double life, simultaneously despising the show during the day, reading all of this hilarious stuff cutting the show off at the knees.  And then, sadly… Every sunday night I would huddle up on the couch alone, trying to will the show to be good through the television.


What’s funny is with all of this hate pouring out from the triple dub, TWD was pulling in massive ratings.  It was the highest rated cable show in the history of boob tub age.  Actually, it wasn’t funny at all.  It made me feel like I was watching the cable equivalent of Two and a Half Men.  Oh, God… What have I become…

I can smell the sex puns from this picture. It smells like America

It depressed me.  The last few episodes of the season picked up steam, and built some momentum.  I held out hope that maybe, just maybe this ship could be righted.  There was a glimpse of the prison, and look!  There’s Michonne with her two “pets”!  It’s all happening now…  But would the internet forgive the atrocities TWD had committed?  I waited with baited breath, or something similarly poetic and awkward.

While we couldn’t get them all back, because some people had seriously just had enough of that shit, TWD did get back one key demographic with Season 3’s premiere:  THE INTERNET!!,139/

I feel so proud, watching a Zombie show that finally realized it’s potential.  If you have a sick day, use it.  Power through the bullshit of Seasons 1 and 2, just so you know who people are and stuff, then come back to the fold.  Because it’s so fuckin on now.  My baby’s all growed up!

– Stephen

Do I only like Boardwalk Empire because it’s on HBO?

Season three of Boardwalk Empire is up and running and I’ve been trying to convince myself to jump back on the B.E. bandwagon.  The problem that I’m facing is that I’m a season behind and I can’t bring myself to get caught up.  I don’t know why.  I like this show.  I really do.  I mean, it’s a great show right?  Everybody says so.  I think I like it.  Of course I like it.  What’s not to like?  Yeah, I like it.  So why does it feel like such hard work to get through almost every episode?  I sit down at my computer or pick up the iPad and I can’t do it.  I’m logged into HBO GO and the episode list is right there.  But I can’t hit play.  Why won’t I watch it?  I tell myself that maybe I’m just tired.  Maybe that ancient episode of Tenacious D just sounds like more fun.  Could it be that facing the prospect of watching so many hour long episodes just so I can say I caught up is too daunting of a task?  That can’t be right.  I could sit through a marathon of The Wire or Game of Thrones without batting an eye.  Something occurred to me recently though.  Is Boardwalk Empire as good as those two shows?  Is it really even a good show?  Do I only like B.E. because it’s a show on HBO and I’m automatically giving it a pass?  Would I watch this show if it was exactly the same but featured on AMC instead?  How about Showtime? I dunno.  I’ve heard Homeland is a really good show, but I haven’t seen an episode yet.  Why?  Because it’s not on HBO godammit.  So now I want to break down Boardwalk Empire and see if it’s really the show that I want it to be, or just the average show that I fear it really is.

HBO. We don’t only show softcore porn anymore!

Let’s first take a look at the star power that’s featured on this show shall we?  That’s what initially roped me in when HBO first started running promos for Boardwalk.  And yes I know, liking a show should be about more than just the actors that are featured.  I get it.  But there’s a reason I still haven’t seen the Soprano’s.  And the reason is that loud-breathing ogre Tony played by James Gandolfini.  He bears a striking resemblance to a moblin from The Legend of Zelda.  Yeah it’s a good show, but I can’t watch it because I keep expecting Tony to kidnap a princess and slowly shuffle around the screen. 

Family is everything. Also burning villages *loud inhale and exhale*

Steve Buscemi is different.  He’s not a huffing ogre.  He’s one of my favorite actors in ever.  My first memory of the best Steve ever was from watching Reservoir Dogs as a kid.  How can Mr. Pink not be the best part of that movie?  He was all business and knew there was a rat in the house before anyone else.  Buscemi is nothing short of brilliant in everything else he’s worked on.  But he’s almost always been part of the supporting cast.  I guess looking like a large fleshy gecko doesn’t get you top billing very often.  When I first heard that Buscemi had been cast as Nucky Thompson, I immediately said, “Who the shit is Nucky Thompson?”  Then I got excited anyway because Steve’s finally getting a chance to be the star of the show and prove his acting brilliance on a network that makes you a headliner.  Would he be able to play a believable gangster in an early 20th century period piece?  This was Buscemi’s chance to shine and prove that he’s got what it takes to be a leading (still hideous) man.  And does he?  Of course he does!  He’s Steve Fucking Buscemi!  Second billing went to Michael Pitt.  He plays a WWI vet trying to break into the world of politics under Nucky’s tutelage.  You may remember Pitt from his role as the creepy albino guy in every movie he’s ever acted.  You may also remember that he’s the best actor in pretty much all of those movies.  Pitt does more of the same as a burgeoning gangster on Boardwalk.  The other big name actor tied to the show is Gretchen Moll.  To say I have an unhealthy attraction to her is an understatement.  It’s not a wear-your-skin type of attraction, but I’ve had a crush on her for a long time.  When I saw that she’d be playing Jimmy’s mom, I was a bit thrown since she’s really not that old.  Then I started watching the show and understood.  And yes I know what happens at the end of season two so….gross.  The two big breakout performances come from Stephen Graham as a young Al Capone and Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein.  Both of these guys steal every scene.  And if you’d seen Snatch, you’d already know that Tommy was the best character in the history of film.


Now if only we could get them for more than two minutes at a time.  The rest of the cast is pretty rock solid.  We get a good assortment of character actors and Omar from The Wire.  Oh indeed.  One of the big sellers HBO used when promoting Boardwalk was throwing around Martin Scorsese’s name like that sad guy at the party that really wants you to like him based on who he knows.  But you don’t have to do that HBO. We like you for who you are.  And really, Scorcese only directed the first episode.  That’s like getting to heaven and Jesus is there to greet you but then he passes you off to Bill to show you around.  Jesus tells you that Bill’s a great guy and he’s gonna take really good care of you.  Then Jesus hops in his chariot and drives off to another appointment.  Sure Bill is nice and all, but he’s not Jesus.  Am I not good enough to get a tour from the Lord?  That’s kind of how it happened on Boardwalk.  Director situation aside, I’m really high on the cast.  They can’t possibly be the problem. 

Jesus and Bill at the Springtime Mixer

So if the cast and acting isn’t the reason I can’t sit through this show, it must be the show itself right?  That’s gotta be it.  How about the setting?  We start at the inception of prohibition and the most crooked city treasurer in ever is starting the biggest bootlegging operation in ever.  Sounds good to me.  That’s must see goddamn tv.  Or MSGDTV for short.  Atlantic City is nice and all, but doesn’t it seem like the more interesting story lines are in Chicago or New York?  (see Al Capone and Arnold Rothstein)  Rothstein fixed the World Series!  I smell spin-off!  The show is filled with gratuitous amounts of violence, sex, and substance abuse.  Like I said, it’s on HBO.  Setting and atmosphere are great.  Was I really into the Roarin 20’s and bootlegging before Boardwalk Empire?  Of course not.  But it’s still an interesting time and HBO has done a great job recreating the atmosphere.  I never thought I’d be interested in a show about Baltimore, but now I think it’s a magical land inhabited by Clay Davis. 

A true wonderland!

Maybe it’s the slow burn style plot development that really kills the mood for me.  I caught a part of season 3 a few weeks ago and Nucky sat in a basement for an hour.  Yeah that’s a pretty slow hour of television.  Then I have to deal with Nucky’s wife handing out flyers on the boardwalk….bored.  But holy shit Capone just beat a dude to death with his bare hands in front of a crowd!  Oh my god then he throws money on him!  That was awesome!  Oh, now I have watch Eli drink for a while.  Whoa, Nucky just shot that kid in head!  And now Van Alden has baby momma drama!  Oh we’re going show more flyers being handed out?  Okay I guess.  Maybe next we’ll get to see Chalky call somebody a mother fucker and go after them with some farm equipment.  No?  Oh, yeah I guess I’ll watch the Schroeder kid go to his first communion.  Ugh.  Eli just killed that dude with a wrench!  And now Jimmy’s wife is crying for no reason.  And roll credits.  I think that’s really the key to the whole thing.  There are just too many characters that I don’t give two shits about.  Their presence lessens the experience for me and really kills the flow of the show.  Who cares that Margaret Schroeder is fantasizing about the Irish guy that’s boning the average looking maid?  I don’t think Boardwalk has too many characters. (are you listening Game of Thrones?) I just think it has too many characters that aren’t doing anything interesting. 

3/4 of you are killing this show for me.

So there you have it.  We just need to kill off the right people and Boardwalk Empire will be perfect.  Or maybe I should just stop being a nitpicky bitch and enjoy the show for what is.  It has won like 20 Emmys after all.  And we all know they don’t hand those out to every crappy show on tv.

Oh. Nevermind.


P.S.  Today is election day so go vote!  Or don’t.  I really don’t give a shit.

– Josh