cordelianne: (S/X All in the Subtext)
...but well-muscled. (btvs 5:18)

That Xander line always warms my Spander-loving heart, which is good since I’m in the midst of working on my [ profile] fall_for_sx fic. I’ll be posting the first half on Wed. November 15th and the second on Thurs. November 23rd /self-promoting. The story’s sort of consuming me right now so I keep forgetting to post updates about me or thoughts on TV (I’m also – as usual – behind on multiple shows). I thought I’d do an update post tonight as a break between editing my fic and catching up on BSG.

Here’s what’s making me happy about TV:

- Reba is back!! I can’t believe I didn’t know this earlier! I know that only a couple of other people will be excited about this – but when I found this out it made my evening! I love this show. I’m hoping for lots more slashy Reba/Barbra Jean moments this season!

- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip picked up for the full season!! Yeah, I know this is old news to most of you, but this is exciting for me. Now the two new shows I’m really enjoying, Studio 60 and Heroes, will both be around for the full season. It’s so lovely to exhale my breath and sit back and enjoy without worries that a show I’ve committed to will get cancelled. (fyi to Friday Night Lights fans: I have the show on my pvr and plan to watch it asap!!)

I’m watching other TV, I just don’t have much to say about it. Oh! Other than that I continue to love Grey’s Anatomy and am trying to not be disappointed with Veronica Mars.

Here’s what’s making me happy in my life )
cordelianne: (AtS Not Fade Away)
Today is the last day that the WB will exist. Tomorrow it and UPN merge to form the CW. I'm mostly excited about this (despite being sad about Everwood and Reba being casualties of the merger), however I am sad about the WB ending. And, I wanted to remind you all that:

As a good-bye, the WB is airing the pilots of its significant shows today.

5pm - Felicity
6pm - Angel
7pm - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
9pm - Dawson's Creek

**check your local listings**

I will totally be watching! I missed out on seeing Felicity when it first aired so I'm excited to check it out. Even though I think it's weird that they're playing Angel before Buffy I'm excited to watch them one last time on the network that (mostly) nurtured these two brilliant shows (I'm trying not to focus on the too soon cancelling of Angel). And it'll be fun to end with the post-modern teen angsting of Dawson's Creek!

I thought it would be fun, as a good-bye, if I listed my favourite memorable moments from the shows I watched on the WB. Good Times on the WB )
cordelianne: (Everwood Bright/Hannah Forever)
In previous years I've held out hope that my favourite shows and actors would get Emmy nominations. And I've always been disappointed when it seems like being on HBO guarantees a nomination, the same shows get nominated year after year, and mediocre actors like Charlie Sheen and Patricia Arquette get nominated (and win!). So, last year after gazing at the awards and declaring It's like these people don't actually watch television! I decided that (other than the industry prestige and glitzy parties) the Emmys are silly and meaningless, and if I made up my own nominations to celebrate my favourite shows, actors and writers it is way more meaningful. Why more meaningful, you ask? Because I love television!! And I'm sure I watch way more tv than the average Emmy voter.

So, if you want to see who the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences nominated click here. ETA: There are NO spoilers behind the cut. And if you want to know why I nominated something or why I didn't, please ask - I didn't have the energy for lengthy explanations (thus, why no spoilers). Now, onto the real nominations: The Second Annual Nominations for the Cordelianne Emmys )

I'm sure you're wondering how the winners will be determined. I will be making that decision and announcing it on (or close to) Emmy night. I will likely do a poll to determine the people's choice around that date, but I will ultimately have to pick one from my favourites in each category (which will be a challenge!!).

I'd wanted to do more categories (ie. writing and directing) but am exhausted from all my preparations for visiting [ profile] savoytruffle (I leave on Monday!!! eeeeee!!!) and for Writercon!!! The excitement levels are VERY HIGH here!!! I'm pretty much ready although there's a couple of last minute things I need to do tomorrow and Monday (eg. I still need to get American money. I remembered to set aside my Veronica Mars dvds but not get cash. *headdesk*).

*squishes you all* *collapses*

It was Arrested Development

  • Feb. 10th, 2006 at 10:15 PM
cordelianne: (Dean SPN)
It may be because I'm sick, but when Michael started crying in the Arrested Development finale I just started sobbing. It's starting to feel more like this is the end for the show. Even though there's been talk of Showtime picking up the series, it really felt like the last episode. Arrested Development 3:10 - 3:13 )

I will miss the most dysfunctional, incestuous, unethical, uncaring BEST family on television. Perhaps in the next few days a Fox executive will say: I've made a huge mistake.

Some more sad tv-related news: Scarlett Pomers (Krya on Reba) has revealed that she's been in treatment for an eating disorder. She's only 17 years old. It's just really sad and distressing. Although at least by talking about it may help other people.

In happier, more amusing news: my dad told me that my grandpa really enjoyed Legally Blonde. I have such a hard time wrapping my head around my 90 year old grandpa watching AND liking Legally Blonde, but I guess it shows that Reese Witherspoon can make anyone like her.

To try and cheer myself up I'm including one of my favourite exchanges on BtVS:

Giles: I suppose there is a sort of Machiavellian ingenuity to your

Xander: I resent that! Or possibly thank you.
cordelianne: (Default)
One hundred is a really important number in television. Sure it means your show can now be sold into syndication, but it means more than that. If you've actually managed to produce and air 100 episodes, that's a huge accomplishment. Most tv shows are never even produced, and few make it past a season or two (some don't even make it past one or two episodes). If you've reached your 100th episode it means that you've had an audience for 5 years, and good enough ratings to continually be renewed.

By some marvelous miracle both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel got to celebrate the 100th episode mark. Buffy went on to two more seasons, whereas Angel ended it's run (stupid almost defunct WB) ten episodes later. Last year was Gilmore Girls' 100th. In the last couple of weeks, Smallville, Reba and Scrubs all aired their 100th episodes.

I've noticed that 100th episodes tend to fall into a few categories (which I've just made up now!):
1. The big dramatic OMG did you notice this is our 100th episode, 2. The just another episode, and 3. We've done something special for 100 but are still keeping true to the premise of our show.

And, guess which category Smallville is in? If you guessed 1. The big dramatic OMG did you notice this is our 100th episode you're absolutely correct. I know! I'm surprised too, Smallville is normally so subtle. hee

Smallville's 100th episode ("Reckoning") almost made it in the other two categories because it has all the features of a regular Smallville episode except that they're super-sized AND there's a major character death. It has the usual bad and obviously telegraphing plot, dodgy acting by Kristin Kreuk (Lana), lousy dialogue and extremely over-earnest Kents. So what made this episode special? Because they actually killed a character!!! For five freaking years characters have almost died so many times that death has stopped meaning anything on Smallville. Actually having someone die is a big deal for this show. Of course, Smallville figured that the audience wouldn't get the significance of this, so they had a long funeral scene with no dialogue just music (it was like all those final montage moments of Smallville episodes, only this time it lasted for basically the final act).

See the thing about Smallville is that it's kind of a bad show, but once you realize that it's so much fun to watch. There's superhero angst and dorkiness, Clark/Lex homoerotic subtext and the cool and sexy cousins - Chloe and Lois. I've also enjoyed watching Tom Welling (Clark) develop more than two facial expressions. I think he's up to about four or five now!!

Oh, and did I mention that I sobbed during the funeral scene, while simultaneously noting cynically in my head that my emotions were being manipulated?

Reba's 100th episode was totally 2. The just another episode. In "Parenting with Puppets", Reba and Barbara Jean disagree on Barbara Jean's parenting technique. (Are we sure they're not the married couple on the show? I'm just saying). Meanwhile Brock and Van go to a spa on their "guy's day" and get mistaken for a gay couple. (See there's queerness everywhere on this show!)

Reba's done some "very special episodes" before (eg. helping Katrina victims), but this episode returns to what makes Reba a great show: dealing with the everyday issues of being a parent and part of an unconventional family. Ultimately Reba and Barbara Jean bond over how difficult it is to be a parent when you have to be "mean" and discipline your kid. Brock and Van's storyline actually becomes about parenting and how important it is that kids have parents who love them regardless of sexual orientation. Bonus points to the show for focusing on the four strongest characters (and actors), and downplaying Cheyenne, Kyra (is she still on the show?) and Jake.

And what would a [ profile] cordelianne discussion about Reba be without lesbian subtext? In this episode Reba spanks Barbara Jean. TWICE!! I don't need to watch The L Word, I can get lesbian action on the WB's family-friendly Reba, thank you very much!!

Scrubs definitely falls in the final category: 3. We've done something special for 100 but are still keeping true to the premise of our show. "My Way Home" is a funny and beautiful Scrubs-esque homage to The Wizard of Oz. The episode could have been gimmicky or too derivative of the movie but instead it felt like any other Scrubs episode, but one that referenced The Wizard of Oz in a fun and loving way.

The episode had all the things that make me love Scrubs:
- J.D.'s straight man girlyness Living with Elliot was certainly different: every inch of her apartment was filled with girly stuff. There were lavender scented candles, pink robes, bath salts.. IT.. WAS.. AWESOME! [J.D. has a pink towel on his head in this scene.]
- Over-the-top funny surreal moments, such as J.D. driving his scooter into a huge water trench, and Jordan (aka "Wicked Witch of the East Wing") melting in her office.
- Music numbers, eg. Laverne's church choir singing "Payback's a Bitch", and Ted's barbershop quartet singing "Maniac" during the montage of Elliott faking being really knowledgeable (I also love Elliott's neuroses!!).

Of course I loved all the Wizard of Oz stuff: J.D.'s red shoes and being called Dorothy, the yellow brick road, Dr. Cox saying "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", Ted's a cappella group does an instrumental version of "We're Off To See the Wizard," and so much more!!!

So it was a typical awesomely funny Scrubs episode with a little extra goodness.

In case you're wondering how I'd categorize the 100th episodes for Angel, Buffy and Gilmore Girls:

1. The big dramatic OMG did you notice this is our 100th episode - Angel. Cordelia comes back, Lindsey's there, and they fight because of some thing (?) in the basement. Not a good plot (did they ask Smallville for advice?) but we're not supposed to care because Cordelia and Lindsey - who were both in the first episode - are back. Also, Cordy and Angel finally kiss, right before we find out she's dead. Oh god, I'm feeling teary. It's so sad. Poor Angel, poor Cordy.

Okay, so it's actually a pretty good episode (because I now just ignore the plot) and Angel's so much better than Smallville, but it really feels like it's more about "yay 100" than "here's a well-written and heart-wrenching episode". It's like the producers were trying to please fans - and most fans LOVE this episode - so worried more about what fans would like than about a good plot and story. Sure the Cordy is dead thing is REALLY sad - and makes me sob - but the episode is more about spectacle than content. For better episodes to represent the show that season watch "Soul Purpose", "A Hole in the World", "Shells," "Smile Time", and "Not Fade Away".

2. The just another episode - Gilmore Girls. Sure there was a wedding and relationship issues (between Lorelei and her mother, and Lorelei and Luke), but it still could have been any other really good Gilmore Girl's episode. So basically it kicked ass!!

3. We've done something special for 100 but are still keeping true to the premise of our show - Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "The Gift" we return to the premise of the show, that this girl with a big heart is forced to make horrible decisions to save the world. She's lucky because she's surrounded by awesome allies and friends, but ultimately she alone makes the tough decisions. Definitely one of the best Buffy episodes ever, as well as one of the best hours of tv ever.

Here's hoping that Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica, Everwood, My Name is Earl, and the Office also all make it to 100. I'd have included Arrested Development on that list but - at this point - I'm just praying it'll get picked up by Showtime. Let's hope that the next heart-wrenching television moment I experience is during the 100th episode of one of my favourite shows and not because of Arrested Development's demise.
cordelianne: (Default)

Here's TWO lines from the most recent episode ("Don't Mess with Taxes" 5:13) in which Barbara Jeans says she wants to be Reba's girlfriend:

I love how tough you are. When we're in prison, I'm so going to be your girlfriend.

Even if we didn't go to prison, I'd still so be your girlfriend.

These lines caused me to flail in excitement!!!

To read the lines in context (which just possibly makes the lines more slashly) click here. )

I was so excited by those lines because of my longtime love for Reba/Barbara Jean:

1. My first entry in which I suggest there's a lesbian subtext between Reba and Barbara Jean.

I said: It's just that they're written the way you'd write a male/female couple before they get together - lots of bantering and insults but deep down you know they care about each other. Even though Barbara Jean is married, Reba seems to be the most important person in her life.

2. More Reba/Barbara Jean love here.

Here's a quote I used in that entry: Barbara Jean to Reba (describing Reba's presence in her life): "You're like Patrick Swayze in Ghost."

3. Fun Reba/Barbara Jean quotage.

Quote used in the entry: Barbara Jean: "Reba, this is Texas. You're lucky I don't tackle you right now."

4. General discussion about my love of the show here.

5. Discussion between fellow Reba fan [ profile] ladyinhottpink and myself about the lesbian subtext here.

Here's what [ profile] ladyinhottpink said in that discussion: i don't even think that the reba/BJ lesbian subtext can even be called subtext anymore it is so intense. "i can give her anything a man could," "she's mine," and "i would rather you were single and miserable than with someone else and happy." OMG. so good.

The whole Reba/Barbara Jean dynamic is interesting because even though Reba's single and Barbara Jean's married, it's Barbara Jean who consistently expresses her affection for Reba. It's almost like Barbara Jean's marriage makes it safer/less threatening for her to make these comments.

As I mentioned in first entry I've linked to: Lesbian subtext aside, I think it's awesome that they have a strong friendship. It's impressive that they're written as friends despite that Brock cheated on Reba with Barbara Jean. Even though that's often an issue in their friendship, they are able to let the blame lie with Brock and not let a man come between them. It's all very women-unite.

On a silly note: Reba is so the butch AND the top in her relationship with Barbara Jean!!! I've looked around online but I think that [ profile] ladyinhottpink and I are the only ones enjoying the lesbian subtext. Oh well, more fun for us I guess?!!

Must bask in awesomeness of Barbara Jean's comments one more time:

I love how tough you are. When we're in prison, I'm so going to be your girlfriend.

Even if we didn't go to prison, I'd still so be your girlfriend.
cordelianne: (Default)
I had this very stressful and busy week, which meant that I didn't watch any of my tv until the weekend (this produced a VERY cranky and anti-social cordelianne). I thought it would be a fun experiment to see if I could keep my reactions about shows to a couple of lines each.

Sunday January 8

The Simpsons – It's funny again!!

Family Guy – Hee. Sychronized swimming and lesbians!

American Dad – I giggled and giggled during the climactic sequence (monkeys!), and I also loved Roger imagining he was in a sitcom (I never do that!).

Charmed – Probably the most original Charmed episode ever ... in a bizarro world where no one realizes this was just a cheap rip-off of a dumb summer movie starring Brangelina.

Grey’s Anatomy – You thought this would be a new episode? Ah ha ha. Welcome to the hell of yet another ABC “recap” episode (I did not watch).

Monday January 9

The Critics Choice Awards – Yay! I’m very happy about the love for Brokeback Mountain!! In other reactions, Dennis Miller as host bored me. Also, I’m beginning to think that Dakota Fanning is a robot; she gives better acceptance speeches than most adults. Maybe Tom Cruise, who – incidentally - she praised in her speech, hypnotized her.

How I Met Your Mother – I LOVE this show! It perfectly captures what it’s like to be single in your late 20s.

Out of Practice – Fun sitcom.

House x 2 - Hmm, both House reruns starred actresses who’ve been on previous seasons of 24. Could Fox be getting us ready for 24’s return?

Tuesday January 10

Gilmore Girls – This season keeps getting better and better! I was highly amused by Rory’s breakdown – the kleenexs!! Also, Lorelei looked so happy & beautiful in her wedding dress – please don’t break our hearts Amy Sherman-Palladino (aka show creator/show runner)!!!

Supernatural – Plot? Who cares about the plot? I love the Winchester brothers and their angst!! I think they’re my favourite brothers on tv. Also, this show is still scaring me at least once an episode

House – I think my favourite moment of the episode was House taking the ball away from the kid. In terms of the romantic stuff, I think it’s going to end badly (Wow! What a shocking prediction!! Maybe I should become a psychic. Ha.)

Scrubs x 2 – These episodes were even better than last week’s. I LOVED the triathlon one and how slow J.D. was, and that Elliot kept catching up and carried him in the end. Also how great was the whole kung fu sequence?!

People’s Choice Awards – After watching this I had to reassure myself that I am indeed a person (I even reminded myself of the Heritage Moment about the Persons Case which proved women are people) because “the people” and I don’t agree on much. Star Wars as best movie?! shudder.

Wednesday January 11

Lost – Watch out Charlie! Now everyone likes Sawyer and no one likes you. Also, we got Eko’s back story which was pretty interesting, and sad.

Thursday January 12

Smallville – sigh. I want James Marsters to return. On the bright side, the villain wasn’t affected by Kryptonite in any way, she was just crazy (fortunately they’ve never had any crazy girls on the show before! Ha, see above re: bizarro world).

Four Kings – Why? Seth Green, why? I only watch this for you, and it’s painful, fingernails on a chalkboard painful.

My Name is Earl – Earl working in fast food! It reminded me of the Buffy “Doublemeat Palace” (6:12) episode (that's a good and funny thing in my book). Oh, I loved the hairnet over Earl’s moustache. hee!

The Office – This show is kicking my ass. I’ve now seen some of the British version and am even more impressed with the American version because it has really become it’s own excellent show. I loved that Michael BURNED HIS FOOT ON A GRILL!! Also, Dwight with concussion was adorable!

Crumbs – I didn’t love it, but it has some potential. It’s fun to see Fred Savage and Jane Curtin again!

Beauty and the Geek – I miss Everwood! Even amusing pop culture questions like “Which of these Jennifers was Ben Affleck not engaged to? (There were pictures of J.Lo, Garner and Aniston), and “Who is the father of Britney Spear’s baby?” could not appease my sadness about the loss of Everwood until March!

Friday January 13

Living with Fran – Fluffy fun.

Reba – Not the best Reba this season, but it was fun to see Reba and Brock get along.

Twins – More fluff.

Numb3rs – Wait, did I say the Winchesters are my favourite brothers? I’d forgotten about the adorable Epps boys. I think the casino in this episode was the one where Gunn and Angel almost lost their souls in Angel “Double or Nothing” (3:18).

The Book of Daniel – This show is a lesser version of Desperate Housewives, Joan of Arcadia and Six Feet Under (I'm not even into Desperate or Six Feet Under). Even the scene when Daniel thinks the 2 mob guys are a gay couple wasn’t as funny as it could be. Just another fluffy Friday night show, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll stick it out.

I've also FINALLY been watching last season of 24 (season 4) to get ready for season 5. Wow! Season 4 is an awesome season - definitely better than seasons 2 or 3. Air Force One gets shot down (see what happens when Harrison Ford isn't President?), there's a nuclear meltdown, torture and all the best characters return (yay President Palmer!!). Chloe kicks ass, or more precisely kills a terrorist. Michelle and Tony reconcile!! Jack experiences lots of angst and people continually doubting his abilities (why would anyone do this?). I just need to watch the 2 hour finale, but I'm already psyched for season 5!!!

Whew! I think I'm experiencing tv overload. Hopefully this week won't be so annoying and I'll be able to actually watch some of my shows!
cordelianne: (Default)
I’ve decided to do something completely original and inventive to recap 2005!! ... Okay, not really. Like Entertainment Weekly, TVGal, Watch with Kristin, etc I’m compiling lists of the best – and the worst – of 2005.

Best Moments of 2005 in TV (ahem, I’m using a very loose definition of “moments”)

1. Veronica Mars’ renewal and awesome season one finale. VM has been a bright spot for me this year.

2. The media’s response to Hurricane Katrina. The heartfelt, active and horrified response of the media to this situation was a nice counterpoint to the tragedy of the event.

3. What sophomore slump? It’s great that VM, House and Grey’s Anatomy are having impressively good second seasons.

4. Bright & Hannah kiss in the Everwood season three finale. This was particularly satisfying because of how their relationship developed organically throughout the season. It’s also damn cute.

5. Buffyverse actors return to TV. James Marsters on Smallville, Charisma Carpenter on VM, Alyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother, David Boreanaz on Bones, Christian Kane on Close to Home and Nicholas Brendon on the sadly canceled Kitchen Confidential.

6. The news that Scrubs is returning to TV in January. It’ll be on NBC Tuesdays at 9pm and 9:30pm.

7. Lorelei tells her mother We’re over in mid-season 5, then a few episodes ago reassures her You haven’t lost me. I love the complexities of the relationships on Gilmore Girls.

8. Veronica and Logan’s first kiss on VM. Best.Kiss.Ever.

9. The reunion of Jin & Sun and Bernard & Rose on Lost. Oh man, the tears were flowing for that moment.

10. Uchenna and Joyce win the Amazing Race - you could just tell that all the other contestants were happy also, it was such an air of celebration. It was great to watch really really nice people win.

Worst Moments of 2005 in TV

1. Joan of Arcadia not renewed. I still have much bitterness towards CBS for canceling such a thought-provoking and nuanced show about spirituality.

2. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise and Scientology. Tom Cruise and his sudden expertise in post-partum depression (despite being neither a doctor nor a medical/drug expert). Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Tom Cruise and couches. The list could go on and on.

3. Sophomore slumps. It’s been disappointing to see Lost and Desperate Housewives, shows that were so original and compelling in their first seasons, struggle in their second seasons.

4. Watching the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Or should I say, lack of response.

5. Arrested Development and Kitchen Confidential canceled. There may be a silver lining for AD because it could be picked up by Showtime!

6. Paris Hilton. To quote from Joan of Arcadia: Now, who decided I need to care about Paris Hilton?

7. The return of Fear Factor to primetime. (Thanks to my brother for this providing this item on my list!)

8. The “War on Christmas” or should I say “the talking point created by the Christian Right who are freaked out by the fact that there’s other religions and faiths than Christianity.”

9. The brilliant Everwood being put on hiatus again by The WB so a reality show can be aired.

10. The Amazing Race: Family Edition and its incredible suckiness. I’m excited about the real Race returning in February: interesting looking contestants who will actually be traveling around the world!

Best Movies in 2005

1. Brokeback Mountain. A beautiful love story that’s well-acted, beautifully shot and continues to resonate days later. A brilliant and ground-breaking movie.

2. King Kong. This is what blockbusters the movie experience should be: good story, edge of your seat action, interesting characters, good acting, homage to old movies, good use of special effects and touching scenes.

3. Serenity. This movie is clearly made with passion which creates an amazing movie: it has love, hatred, and grief as well as action, humour, excitement and creepiness on a big screen scale. Firefly lives!

4. A History of Violence. It's a deceptively simple story that examines the violence that's underneath the surface of everyone. Definitely one of the best films of the year.

5. Batman Begins. This is pretty geeky, but I loved how coherent the story is - it's very tight storytelling (I really hate the sloppy storytelling and continuity that's in a lot of movies, particularly ones with significant CGI). It’s also a kick-ass superhero movie!

6. Walk the Line. This is more than just a biopic of another musician who started off poor, became famous for an innovative sound and struggled with drug addiction because of the love story at the heart of the film. This isn't cutsie romantic comedy love story material, this is a painful, intense and hard love story that's captivating to watch.

7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is a great adaptation of the book, because it retains the significant aspects of the story while moving along at a fast and engaging pace. It was so good it got a friend to read all the novels.

8. Jarhead. A compelling war film that has no action scenes (unless you count the troops watching war movies). Excellent acting, beautifully shot, thought-provoking and relevant to today’s conflict.

9. Crash. An impressive yet flawed movie, the most notable flaw is how the multiple storylines are resolved. What's great about the movie - I optimistically hope - is that it encourages dialogue around racism and self-analysis of personal racism. Content aside, the acting is excellent, the shots beautifully done, and the scenes just blend together seemingly seamlessly.

10. 40 Year Old Virgin and The Wedding Crashers. As much as I love teen movies, it’s been great to have actual adult comedies. Neither of these movies are the best movies I’ve ever seen, so I've combined them as one item because they’re both damn funny movies that don’t have to shy away from adult topics.

Best TV shows of 2005

1. Veronica Mars. This show really is "the New Buffy" - it's intelligent with excellent dialogue and a smart, independent and fun heroine who's the centre of an enthralling universe of mystery, suspense, humour, pain, drama and often a combination of more than one of the above. To quote Joss Whedon Best.Show.Ever.

2. Gilmore Girls. Although Gilmore Girls is no longer the cozy and reassuring dramedy it used to be, it has grown up and is now successfully exploring the painful issues of becoming an adult and how this changes family relationships.

3. Everwood. Whenever I watch an episode of Everwood I always declare it The Best Show on Television. It has consistently high quality episodes with complex characters and storylines.

4. Arrested Development. This is the type of show that makes me laugh so hard that milk sprays out of my nose (if – you know – I actually was silly enough to drink anything while watching AD). Definitely the edgiest and funniest show on TV.

5. Reba. This show draws from the tradition of old-fashioned family sitcoms like The Dick Van Dyke Show but also has clear influences from the more cutting-edge Roseanne. Reba deals with lots of serious issues really well – weight gain and weight loss, adultery, alcoholism, depression – however it’s not a serious drama because it succeeds is finding the humour in these difficult and painful scenarios.

6. Grey’s Anatomy. I never would have guessed last year that this show would have made my list. It’s gone from being good soapy fun to a show with increasingly well-written episodes and smart/interesting story decisions (ie. Having Dr. McDreamy’s estranged wife stay and be a likeable character).

7. My Name is Earl. It's definitely one of my new favourite shows. It has a great premise (Earl discovering the concept of Karma and now trying to make amends for all the bad things he's done) that has resulted in interesting and funny episodes (eg. trying to make up for faking his own death to break-up with a girl, or kidnapping a woman to help her quit smoking).

8. Doctor Who. For some reason I didn't expect the show to have such a fabulous combination of fun, heart-wrenching drama, suspense, and interesting stories. It’s so hard waiting a whole year for the new season. I’m very excited about the special The Christmas Invasion airing on Boxing Day at 8pm to 9:30pm on CBC.

9. Entourage. Overall I love this show because it has heart - it really feels like these 4 guys are good friends. They may tease each other but they ultimately look out for each other. Also, how can I not love a show that has Jeremy Piven’s deliciously sleazy agent say Hug it out, bitch?

10. How I Met Your Mother. One of the reasons I’ve declared that there’s a “Sitcom Renaissance”. Definitely my favourite new sitcom this season (ie. half-hour comedy with a laugh track). It has sustained its funny from the pilot and it does over-the-top really well. It’s also has excellent writing and a very good cast.

11. Everybody Hates Chris. A very funny and smart new approach to the family sitcom (ie. no laugh track). Race issues and racism are explored in an intelligent and humourous way thanks to Chris Rock’s excellent narration.

I’m very impressed that I contained myself to ten items for each category, except for the Best TV shows and I’m very pleased that I only exceeded by one item! I’m now excited to compare my lists with Entertainment Weekly’s (I purposefully didn’t look at it before created my lists)!!

Right now I’m at my parent’s place in Kingston having a relaxing Christmas Eve! I slept in until 1pm!! We decorated the house and tree last night so it’s all festive, and there’s a tray of yummy treats to snack on. My mom sings in a United church choir so we’ll be attending a Family service and then the midnight service tonight. Right now I plan to do a little more livejournal reading and work more on my screenplay. I LOVE that I brought my laptop with me, and that my brother has set up the house for wireless internet!!! Yay to my younger and very technologically capable brother!!

Happy Holidays everyone!!
cordelianne: (Default)
I have a long history of crushes on tv characters. Back in high school it was Jordan Catalono on My So-Called Life, then in university it was Pacey on Dawson’s Creek, and in more recent years it’s been Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. One thing they all have in common – other than that they’re all bad boys – is that my crush is on the character, not on the actors. I’m just more interested in the richly drawn and well-written characters than the actors who never live up to their fictional counterpart. The only exception is Spike’s James Marsters because I will watch whatever he’s in, no matter how bad it is **cough**Andromeda**cough – that’s what the fast forward function is for!

As I become more absorbed in my television obsession love, my list of crushes is constantly changing and expanding:

Rob Thomas (VM Creator)

This is more of an “I want to be his friend, or wish I was him, or both” kind of crush.

I was already filled with love for Rob Thomas because of his fabulously enthralling and smart show. Then my love increased when he had Buffy alumni Charisma Carpenter and Alyson Hannigan both guest star as recurring characters. Rob Thomas delighted me further when it was announced that Charisma and Alyson would guest star in the same episode and he declared: “Believe me, we will bend over backwards to put Charisma and Alyson in a scene together. Whatever it takes, it's gonna happen!” (Watch with Kristen chat transcript, September 26, 2005)

So could my love for him overflow more?! Of course it could! He was so adorable during an online chat with Watch with Kristen my crush actually increased! Here’s a couple of my favourite Rob Thomas quotes during the chat:

“We haven’t shied away from Buffy comparisons. We’re flattered by it.”

“The joy is the journey.”

Watch with Kristin (Eonline TV Columnist)

I’d describe this as an “I want to be her friend so we talk and talk about tv” kind of crush.

Her real name is Kristin Veitch, and she has a weekly column on Eonline about television. I had so much fun watching her interview Rob Thomas online because she’s so enthusiastic. When she talks, her love for television is very evident. I’m also endeared to her because she’s a huge Buffy fan, and has always promoted and supported the show.

In fact, Kristin does an excellent job of helping out less popular shows. Sure she talks a lot about the trendy Lost (a little too much for my tastes) but she’s also there for shows watched by real tv lovers. Over the years she’s championed Buffy, Angel, Arrested Development, and Veronica Mars to name a few of my favourite shows. She also does this neat thing each year in which her readers get to vote for one show that should be saved (ie. Past winners have been Angel and Veronica Mars), and then she uses her pull at Eonline to campaign for the show.

Even though she has a Hollywood Eonline feel to her, I can tell that deep down she’s a big tv geek, and I love her for that!

Jon Stewart (The Daily Show)

I totally have a “you’re so smart, funny and adorable” crush on Jon Stewart.

He’s able to make the news not only tolerable but actually fun. Jon Stewart can always make me laugh, no matter how upsetting the subject matter. He also has such awesome facial expressions! My favourite parts are when he’s having trouble not laughing at one of the other “reporters”.

Thanks to Jon Stewart, the fake news is good enough for me.

George O’Malley (Grey's Anatomy)

Grey’s Anatomy is slowly becoming one of my favourite shows. It’s gone from being good soapy fun to a show with increasingly well-written episodes and smart/interesting story decisions (ie. Having Dr. McDreamy’s estranged wife stay and be a likeable character).

Of course, George – “he’s so adorable and sweet” type of crush – is always the highlight of the show for me. Frequently shows are good at writing the “bad boy” but it’s hard to make a sweet and good character interesting, and George actually is!! I frequently feel swoony during George scenes. T.K. Knight, who plays George, definitely deserves credit for making the nice guy my favourite character!!

Marshall (How I Met Your Mother)

I feel that I deserve credit for not selecting the ex-Buffy actress (Alyson Hannigan). I just can’t resist Marshall, who’s my “he’s so goofy and cute” crush.

Jason Segel (Freaks and Geeks) won me over when he danced like a total dork and wore a Pirates of the Caribbean/Johnny Depp inspired pirate costume. Sure Neil Patrick Harris’ deliciously sleazy Barney is a scene stealer but Marshall is the heart of the show.

Randy (My Name is Earl)

My crush on Randy is similar to my George and Marshall crushes in that he’s the sweet guy on the show. I’d describe my crush on Randy as the “he’s so sweet, goofy and lovable” type of crush. Randy may not be the smartest guy but he has a really good heart. One of my favourite episodes is when he ruins another chance at scoring a touchdown to help out Earl. I would totally a buy that shirt that says “I heart Randy”.

House (House)

House will never be described as sweet, goofy or adorable, he definitely falls more into the bad boy section of my list. I’d describe House as the “entertainingly sarcastic, witty and snarky” type of crush. He’s the kind of bad boy who appeals to me more for his mind than his looks.

I’m also a huge fan of the House and Wilson friendship, and must admit that I love to read a homoerotic subtext into their relationship. As a result I was particularly entertained by this exchange in last week’s episode:

Stacy: What are you hiding?

House: I’m gay. Oh, that’s not what you meant. But it does explain a lot though. No girlfriend, always with Wilson, obsession with sneakers.

Logan (Veronica Mars)

And speaking of bad boys, I have to include Logan! This is definitely the “he’s so pretty and bad, but can be sweet” type of crush.

Jason Dohring continues to impress me with his nuanced and layered portrayal of rich bad boy Logan. He’s particularly skilled at revealing Logan’s vulnerability and making us (I know I’m not alone in this) believe that Logan has the potential to be good.

Ana-Lucia (Lost)

I suspect that I picked Ana-Lucia because she’s reviled across the fandom. Normally my character allegiances are consistent with other people’s, however there are occasions when I enjoy being contrary.

I admit that Ana-Lucia made the list because “she’s hot, tough and kind of butch” and that is a definite weak spot for me. There’s so few butch girls on tv that, at this point, I’m just excited when there actually is one on a show. I’m also a fan of Michelle Rodriguez (who plays Ana-Lucia) in Girlfight and SWAT because she’s all tough and hot.

So I should actually describe this as “my completely shallow crush, that’s totally based on looks.”

Bright (Everwood)

This is definitely the case of “the reformed bad boy who’s still struggling to be the nice supportive guy” type of crush.

Chris Pratt (Bright), like Jason Dohring, brings texture and depth to a character that could have been two-dimensional. Bright started off as a dumb jock but has always been more than just that stereotype (Hello! The O.C., welcome to real acting and good writing, bitch). Entertainment Weekly may have put him on their “Must List” a few issues ago but he’s been one of my favourite characters since I discovered Everwood in its 2nd season.

Lorelei (Gilmore Girls)

After years of watching – and adoring - Gilmore Girls I recently realized that I’m frighteningly similar to Lorelei (except that I didn’t get pregnant at 16, I don’t have rich parents, I don’t own an inn etc.). This crush is more the “your quirkiness is similar to mine and we should friends” type.

Here’s 3 reasons why Lorelei would be the perfect friend for me:

1. I didn’t realize that the characters (especially Lorelei) talk fast until someone else told me.
2. I also have a gigantic video collection of recorded tv shows.
3. I love all sorts of pop culture, the weirder the better, just like Lorelei.

Reba (Reba)

The main reason that I love Reba is because Reba is so kick ass and funny! She’s definitely the “I’m in awe of your many powers” type of crush.

Reba deals with her ex-husband on a regular basis, has forged a friendship his new wife, started a new career, supported her daughter through teen pregnancy, and raised her other 2 children. While doing all that she still has time to solve the perpetual family crises and keeps her sense of humour. Dude, on my best days I’m not that productive and on top of things!

This is actually a short list of crushes for me because I forced myself to stick with one character per show. There are plenty of other characters I wanted to include (special shout outs to Wallace, Lane and Paris), but I’m working on restraining myself. I’m pleased that as I’ve gotten older my crushes have expanded outside of the bad boy realm, although I’ll probably never completely give up on the bad boys. Every time I hear Spike say “What can I tell you, baby? I’ve always been bad” (btvs 5:7) I still get a little weak in the knees. I think the whole bad boy attraction was summarized nicely on Grey’s Anatomy:

"How can someone be so offensive and yet so charming all at the same time?"
"It's an art form." (Grey's Anatomy 2:3)
cordelianne: (Default)
I have a real affection for the WB’s Friday night sitcom line-up, particularly my beloved Reba and the fluffy What I Like About You. Sure they’re not breaking sitcom ground the way that Arrested Development or Everybody Hates Chris is, but they’re always reliable for some laughs.

Last Friday night reminded me of why I enjoy both shows; Reba and What I Like About You aren’t just funny, they both have a good heart. Sure, silliness may ensue along but the way, but by the conclusion of each show’s episode the issues have been responded to in an accepting and compassionate way.

What I Like About You, which Entertainment Weekly correctly describes as a “sweet decent little sitcom” (Issue# 848, Nov. 4/05), nicely dealt with Val and Holly’s father coming out as gay in "Someone's in the Kitchen with Daddy". Barry Bostwick (Spin City) guest starred as their dad, Jack, so that made the episode even more fun.

The sisters find out Jack's gay when they see him kissing his - clearly more than - business partner (sadly off screen). I loved it when one of the girls described it as “Man on man action.” When their dad tells them he’s gay, Val responds: “We don’t care who you’re in love with. As long as you’re happy.” Awww. There’s also this fun moment when Jack asks: “What should we toast to?” And Val responds: “The blue states?”

The episode ends with Jack and his partner singing a gay version of Summer Nights (from Grease) and the whole cast singing along. An awesome ending to a sweet episode.

Reba dealt with Barbra Jean’s recent weight gain (the actress, Melissa Peterman, was pregnant in real life at the time this episode was taped). The WB’s description for the episode, "Have Your Cake", is misleading because it suggests that the issue is resolved by Cheyenne, who suggests that she and Reba go on a diet with Barbra Jean to help her out – this is not the case.

Although the women go on a diet together, it is not the resolution of the issue, it just leads to the real issue: body image. The episode does a great job of examining the pressures that women face about their appearance. Lots of details about the excellent Reba episode, Have Your Cake. )

This episode reaffirmed my love of Reba because the show is always willing to tackle issues that I rarely see explored anywhere else. Interestingly the same day I watched this Reba episode I also caught a Numb3rs episode from a few weeks ago in which Samaire Armstrong (Anna on The O.C.) guest starred. I was horrified by her appearance; Samaire has always been a skinny woman, however it looks like she’s lost a distressing amount of weight. She doesn’t look healthy. Reba may have had the characters succumb to beauty conventions by dieting but I’m glad for this Reba episode - especially since the characters ultimately reject beauty pressures - because it seems like no one else is talking about this issue on television in a real way.

I love knowing that I can turn on What I Like About You for a fun, non-offensive, sweet half-hour. It’s also awesome to know that Reba's still the place I can go for laughs and relatable issues that are approached in a thoughtful and satisfying way. Heck, it also has some of my favourite kick ass women on television: Reba and Barbra Jean are right up there with Buffy and Veronica Mars as tough and formidable heroines!!


cordelianne: (Default)
My television can still surprise me. Now I'm not talking about shocking twists and surprise endings, because these devices rarely surprise me anymore (not that I don't enjoy a good twist). It's mostly random things that are catching me off guard right now.

Here's what's actually surprising me:

1. Lost isn't dead. I wasn't loving the 1st couple of episodes so it wasn't until Wednesday that I watched "Everybody Hates Hugo" and "...And Found". They may not have provided big answers, and there was still a music montage ending, but both episodes were good tv.

I enjoyed the glimpse into Hurley's slacker past. And of course, I loved the Sun and Jin meeting - so adorable! I also liked the fleeting glimpse of who I'm assuming are the Others.

2. There's a good chance of romance for Reba this year! I didn't expect to be so excited by the minister telling Barbara Jean that he likes Reba.

Also, bonus surprise points for casting Patrick Fabian as Reverend Parks because he's sexy, nice and interesting on Reba whereas he was jerky and mean on Joan of Arcadia as Gavin Price (the vice-principal).

3. The Amazing Race: Family Edition sucks. I figured it wouldn't be as good as previous seasons and was disappointed about the lack of diversity but I never expected it to be this bad and boring.

Having the teams go to a giant office chair and a gas station for clues seems more like a scavenger hunt organized by dorky parents instead of the Amazing Race. Oh yeah, and why are they STILL in the U.S.?!!

4. I'm laughing at sitcoms (note the plural use of the word sitcom!), instead of being confused when I hear a laugh track. Both How I Met Your Mother and Out of Practice consistently make me laugh out loud.

Neil Patrick Harris is always fabulously sleazy, Alyson Hannigan is cute and Jason Segel is very entertaining (especially the scene of him dancing). Out of Practice also has an excellent cast. Wait, you mean actors need to be able to deliver their lines, not just look pretty?!!

5. There's a lesbian on tv who looks like a real lesbian, and not a super femme straight woman. Obviously there are lots of femmy queer women but there's also lots of dykes who dress like Paula Marshall's character (Regina) on Out of Practice: funky jeans, a t-shirt with fun patterns layered over a long sleeved top. Very cute!

6. Smallville had a good pop culture reference!

Aquaman: “I don’t travel with an entourage.”

This is a reference to Entourage because on the show Vince is cast as Aquaman.

Of course, there's still stuff that doesn't surprise me:

1. Veronica Mars rocks! It's definitely my favourite show. I really enjoyed the last 2 episodes especially Charisma Carpenter's character's annoyance with Veronica (the hand gesture is excellent) and Logan's "Veronica Mars has accused me of evil.[Logan twirls an imaginary moustache.]" hee hee

2. Everwood continues to kick ass (not literally though). My heart ached when Ephram was tempted by the piano (I love that temptation comes in the form of a piano on this show). Everwood also delights me with excellent scenes containing unexpected pairings, eg. Hannah and Jake. Also I love weirdly obsessive Harold!

To the show runner: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for Rose’s cancer being gone!!!

3. Gilmore Girls has entertaining episodes - Sores and Boils Alley! - even when not much happens. One of the things that Gilmore Girls has excelled at it making small issues into good and fun tv.

4. James Marsters is an excellent actor. With much enjoyment I re-watched all of his scenes on Smallville. He just pours his whole self into a character, and it pays off. I don't like Milton Fine as much as Spike, but I'm very interested in the character and excited to see what his real plans for Clark are.

Also, the promo for next week's episode of Smallville has James Marsters say: "Clark, there's no such thing as vampires." ha!

5. I still love Buffy the Vampire Slayer!! I just saw parts of "The Replacement" and it made me so happy. I love how slobby!Xander and Anya hide behind suave!Xander when Toth attacks. Also, these lines always make me laugh:

Both Xanders: "Kill us both Spock."
Giles: "Yes, he's clearly a bad influence on himself." (I suspect that could also frequently apply to me!)

Here's some of my favourite quotes from tv recently:

Bright: “You’re like a social black hole. All light goes into you and dies.”
Ephram: “First of all, it’s not certain whether light is conscious so it can’t die ….” (Everwood 4:3) Love the geekiness!

Gary: “I hate her.”
Vince: “Then you may be sending mixed signals by making out with her.” (What I Like About You 4:4)

Lorelei: “Of course, the Norma Rae reference was only in my head and everyone was very confused.”
Michel: “Yes, it happens a lot with you.” (Gilmore 6:6) Sigh, I can totally relate to Lorelei.

Oh, good news, it looks like Alyson Hannigan will guest star in a November episode of VM (Charisma Carpenter will also guest star)!!
cordelianne: (Default)
Sure there's lot of CSI and CSI-clone shows on tv right now, but my love of television has been renewed! I've been watching more shows that I like recently, which has resulted in a less snarky Cordelianne. I had so much fun in my last entry organizing my thoughts around quotes from my recently viewed shows, that I thought I'd do it again. Also it gives me the opportunity to include my favourite quotes!

"These people are crazy." (re: The Weavers on The Amazing Race: Family Edition 8:3)

Hey! The Weavers are the most entertaining family on the show. I enjoy their over-the-top Christianity (ie. praying for God to help them with a clue) and their high levels of excitement. If more of the families were as "crazy" as them it might be a more entertaining season.

I'd also be more into the show if the teams actually left the damn country!! Three episodes and they're still in the U.S.?! It's hard to feel suspenseful about a mystery bus ride within the U.S., it just can't compare to mystery trips through beautiful scenery on the other side of the world. .... Opps I guess I lied, there's still some snark in me after all.

"Guy probably got attacked by the toxic mold that he found under the crack foundation that covers the portal to hell." (Reba 5:3)

I like to imagine that this is a reference to Buffy!! Sure my Buffy obsession may cause me to associate every portal to hell reference with the show, but even if it wasn't a reference it's still fun to imagine that it is!

However, Reba definitely had an excellent pop culture reference during some really funny interactions between Brock and Barbara Jean and the operator from their car's navigation system who's name is Hal (you know like the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey). I was very amused when Hal called Brock "Dave" and then locked him in the car. Good times, I love Reba!!

"Yours is the best gay show since Frasier." (re: Queer Eye on Living with Fran 2:3)

I just giggled over that comment because I enjoy it when other people - not just me - read queer subtexts into pop culture.

Speaking of gay subtext, check out the following quote from Smallville. Clark is very passionately saying this to Lex in between punches:

"I thought we could start over Lex. But you're too obsessed with the past, with me. I'm different now and I'm through playing games with you." (Smallville 5:2)

Did anyone else start wondering exactly what games they used to play? I know, I know, Clark is really upset about Lex spying on him in an attempt to uncover his secret but still ... it's hard to deny the subtext. Additionally, Lex and Clark have the most compelling and interesting relationship on the show - way more interesting than Clark and Lana (boring).

"What you're saying is now that you're human you have absolutely no useful skills." (Smallville 5:2)

hee hee, Chloe was so cool and lots of fun this episode - I just love that comment of hers to Clark. A friend of mine was complaining that it's not that interesting now that Clark has lost his powers. However, I enjoyed watching Clark learn to succeed like a regular non-super powered person. But I agree that the show won't be interesting in the long-term if he doesn't have powers. Fortunately - as I reassured my friend - Smallville doesn't have a good track record for maintaining story or characters arcs so Clark will get his powers back soon.

"I got beat up by a taco." (American Dad 1:10)

I love that line said by Roger (the alien), and think it would be perfect for a t-shirt.

"You know, yelling is sometimes a really loud way of saying I love you." (Kitchen Confidential 1:2)

I'm very entertained by this line, because it points out the romantic comedy cliche of a couple starting out by arguing and hating each other but eventually realizing they love each other. I must admit that I love this particular cliche if it's done correctly because I love snarky banter. What makes this line rock is that the 2 people arguing in this episode are 2 straight guy best friends.

I really hope that Kitchen Confidential doesn't get canceled. Just to clear things up, it has not been canceled, instead - like all the other Fox shows - it is in hiatus during the baseball playoffs. I'm hoping it'll get picked up because I want all the Buffy/Angel alumni to succeed (Alyson Hannigan's How I Met Your Mother and David Boreanaz's Bones have both been picked up for full seasons - YEA).

"There was lots of nice architecture and smokers." (Ephram on Europe, Everwood 4:2)

Yes, that does describe Europe perfectly!!

"It's called communication, it's what relationships are based on." (Everwood 4:2)

hee, I'd clarify that statement slightly "It's called communication, it's what good relationships are based on."

This season of Everwood is excellent (as per usual). In particular, I really like Bright and Hannah's burgeoning romance. It's neat to watch Bright learning how to be in a mature relationship that lasts more than 3 dates. Everwood is good at moving beyond cliches and creating 3-dimensional characters, such as Bright who've developed beyond dumb jock territory.

"I'm sorry Harold, am I late for my interrogation in a 1940s war movie?" (Everwood 4:2)

I just love that line so much I had to include it!!

I love watching good shows like Everwood, Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Reba and Kitchen Confidential. They remind me of why I love television - sometimes it can be good for a relaxing half hour of laughing, and other times to examine the horrible and beautiful complexities of human interactions. Thank god there isn't just crime shows on television, although it can feel that way which is why I'm concluding with this amusing quote from Gilmore Girls (6:5):

Jackson: Did anyone see that new show on tv last night?
Lorelei: The one where they were solving crimes by cutting bodies open and poking their organs?
Jackson: No.
Sookie: The one where they're solving crimes from 30 years ago by going to graveyards and cutting open bodies and poking their organs?
Jackson: No.
Lorelei: The one where people are missing and then they find their bodies and cut them open and poke their organs, and that's how they solve the crimes?"
Jackson: No.
Lorelei: What else is on?
cordelianne: (Default)
I have an slightly embarrassing and unhip confession to make: I love sitcoms. Even though I like the cool and funny single camera comedies like Scrubs and Arrested Development, I also enjoy a good sitcom. I do need to emphasize that last part: I enjoy a good sitcom. So I'm not talking about According to Jim, and its clone shows. I like that for half an hour I'm transported into a world where silly and goofy things happen (I love silly and goofy things), people make funny remarks, and the issues are resolved at the end of the show.

As J.D. notes in Scrubs' tribute to the sitcom: "There are moments when we all wish life was more like a sitcom."

Now just to be clear, here are current shows that I don't wish my life was like:
According to Jim, Yes Dear, Still Standing, Rodney, Hope & Faith, Two & a Half Men, and War at Home.

I'm neutral about/don't watch these shows so don't have an opinion:
King of Queens, Less Than Perfect, George Lopez, According to Fran, Twins, Will & Grace, Bernie Mac Show, Malcolm in the Middle, and Stacked.

But of course, the more exciting part is which sitcoms do I actually like?

Reba (the WB, Fridays 9pm):

This is the show that I get teased for liking because it seems to be so far from hip it's anti-hip. However, I'd contend that Reba is actually quite hip for a family-centre sitcom. For me, Reba draws from the tradition of old-fashioned family sitcoms like The Dick Van Dyke Show but also has clear influences from the more cutting-edge Roseanne.

I love my family so I enjoy watching shows where family is strongly valued (please note that I'm avoiding using the term "family values" because of its problematic associations). The best part of Reba is that it isn't just valuing the traditional nuclear family. The title character is a divorced single mom struggling to raise her 3 kids which includes a daughter, Cheyanne, who got pregnant in high school and married the father, Van, who also lives with Reba. As many people can contend, being a single parent is hard work and one frequently needs other supportive people in one's life. That's where the notion of family is expanded on Reba the show to include her ex-husband, Brock, his new wife, Barbara Jean, and their son.

In fact, my favourite relationship on the show is between Reba and Barbara Jean because they begrudgingly - especially on Reba's side - become best friends and family. Resolving an issue is only accomplished when multiple family members (often including the kids) work together. It certainly isn't Father Knows Best on Reba, especially since Brock is frequently in the wrong! Sure there's lots of arguing but they're always there for each other in the end.

For a sitcom Reba deals with some serious issues: divorce, separation, adultery, teen pregnancy, depression, job loss, alcoholism, to name a few examples.

In the Scrubs episode mentioned previously J.D. observes that in real life (unlike sitcoms): "Relationships aren't always magically fixed in thirty minutes -- you have to work on them." Even though I just declared that I love the reassurance that sitcoms resolve everything in half an hour, the best Reba episodes have ended on cliffhangers: Will Kyra (Reba's middle daughter) move out of Reba's house and in with Brock and Barbara Jean, breaking Reba's heart? Does Brock think he made a mistake divorcing Reba and marrying Barbara Jean? Also when Brock and Barbara Jean had marriage difficulties, they were separated and in therapy for part of a season (which is a really long time in tvland) and even once they got back together their comfort with each was still shaky.

This is sounding like Reba's a serious drama, but the show succeeds is finding the humour in these difficult and painful scenarios. Reba is especially funny and always has fabulous snarky comments. The actor who plays Van always provides a playful goofyness to the show. It's the balance of interesting storylines and humour that keeps me coming back to Reba.

Joey (NBC, Thursday 8pm):

I don't think I'll be going into rhapsodies about Joey (the Friend's spin-off) the way that I did with Reba, but I do find it an enjoyable sitcom. I think that it perfectly fulfills the reassuring qualities of a sitcom: issues are resolved neatly and tidily within a half hour, relationships are magically fixed in thirty minutes, problems have easy solutions, and things eventually work out for good people.

When Joey is on, it's like opening a portal to a world where it's easy to get an awesome apartment, relatives are quirky, there's always hot people to date and money never seems to be an issue. I also get funny episodes such as Joey getting stuck in traffic on the way to the Tonight Show, and being rescued by Alex who gives him a pink motorcycle which he rides to the show. That was my favourite episode last season because I like over-the-top silliness of Joey riding down the street on a pink motorcycle with a pink helmet.

What I Like About You (the WB, Fridays 8pm):

I suspect that no one can make fun of me for enjoying this show, because very few people I know actually watch What I Like About You.

Basically it's this very cute and fluffy show. To quote from the WB website: "When their dad took a job in Japan, teenage live-wire Holly Tyler (Amanda Bynes) and her straight-laced twenty-something sister, Valerie (Jennie Garth), moved in together in New York City."

It has those silly over-the-top, only sitcom elements: Holly hides in the car of the guy she likes to surprise him but ends up stuck there when he drives down to Florida with another girl. Val wakes up and discovers that she drunkenly married her ex-boss in Atlantic City.

Because I have so many shows that I love and analyze to death, it's nice to just sit back and enjoy a mindless - but fun - half hour.

I would have included That '70s Show but I suspect that this season will suck without Eric (Topher Grace) who was the heart of the show.

What inspired my own tribute to sitcoms is my excitement over 2 new sitcoms on CBS, How I Met Your Mother and Out of Practice, which are actually funny!!!

How I Met Your Mother (CBS, Mondays 8:30pm):

It has an awesome cast which got me to watch in the first place: Alyson Hannigan (from Buffy!!), Neil Patrick Harris (the grown up Doogie Howser), and Jason Segel (Freaks and Geeks). I also really like the other two actors: Josh Radner and Colbie Smulders.

I admit to being pre-disposed to liking Alyson Hannigan but what really won me over was Josh Radner, Ted, who is adorable without being too cute. Also, it has a really awesome twist at the end of the episode.

Sure the show is about Ted's desire to find his soul mate to marry and start a family with, which is pretty traditional material, but I didn't feel like it was being shoved down my throat. Also Neil Patrick Harris' character provides a nice counterbalance to Ted's schmultzyness (of course, being schmultzy myself I enjoy the schmultzness). I also like it because straight men are so rarely depicted as seeking emotional and romantic companionship. But this wouldn't work if there weren't funny lines about Smurf penises and silly accidents like getting hit in the eye with a champagne cork. Also, the voiceover narration - despite starting to feel overused in general - works in this show and adds to the humour (like in Scrubs and Arrested Development).

Out of Practice (CBS, Mondays 9:30pm):

This was another show that I decided to watch based solely on the cast: Stockard Channing (channeling herself from The First Wives Club), Christopher Gorham (from many failed shows including Jake 2.0), Henry Winkler (Arrested Development's fabulously funny horrible lawyer), and Paula Marshall (guest starred on Veronica Mars!). Ty Burrell and Jennifer Tilly are also on the cast.

To quote the CBS website: Out of Practice is a comedy about a family of physicians who share the same profession but have little else in common.

The pilot episode centred about Christopher Gorham's character, Ben Barns, trying to get his family to spend time together, and to help his recently divorced parents get along better. Over the course of the evening he discovers that his dad is dating his secretary (Jennifer Tilly) and his family hears Ben's wife leaving a voicemail message that she's leaving him. There's then lots of amusing misunderstandings as people try to keep various pieces of information from each other so no one gets hurt. Of course, everything goes horribly wrong and excellent comedy ensues.

An exciting bonus to my enjoyment of Out of Practice is that Paula Marshall's character is a lesbian! She actually looks like a believable lesbian, and her sexuality doesn't define her whole character, gasp! She's an ER doctor and loves her work environment's nonstop action.

Although I'm enjoying the Sitcom Renaissance (I just coined that term), it's actually part of a large trend of good quality half hour shows this year. Besides the returning Scrubs, Arrested Development and the Office, there's the great Kitchen Confidential, My Name is Earl and Everybody Hates Chris (my comments on these shows coming soon). I would be remiss if I didn't mention the good half hour animation shows: Family Guy, King of the Hill, The Simpsons, and American Dad.

The best thing about all these shows is that they can be more than just a half hour of television, they can be a welcome relief in times of crisis or just good for a laugh after a bad day. I'm right there with J.D. in the final moments of Scrubs' tribute to the sitcom:

J.D. sits on the couch in front of the T.V., laughing along with the audience.

J.D.'s Narration: And at times like that, it's comforting to know there's always one thing that can pick your spirits up.


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