Archives for category: Television

Synopsis

We open on Dr. Connors giving a lecture to Eddie, Gwen, and Peter on the meaning of scientific exploration and how it is the duty of scientists to found the connection between all things in the world and then deeper explore these interactions. The backdrop of this lecture is a tank full of eels and stingrays that have been genetically modified to yield high amounts of bio-electricity. The tank itself is full of a viscous liquid which Eddie Brock affectionately calls “sludge” which maximizes the amount of energy produced. Unfortunately, the experiment is proving too efficient and produces more electricity than the lab can handle. For that reason ESU electrician Max Dillon has been brought in to update the power grid.

Before Dr. Connors can continue to lecture the students his wife Martha comes in with their son Billy and informs him that due to the lateness of the hour she needs to be getting him home. She also adds that he should consider letting their two interns go as well, since it is a school night. Curt agrees and sends the two home leaving himself, Eddie, and Max in the lab. As Peter leaves with Gwen an alarm goes off on his phone, and he informs Gwen that he has set the alarm to remind him he is running late and that he should call home.

Back in the lab, Max is having difficulty with the installation and sets his drill atop the power station. Unfortunately his jerking of the stuck part causes the drill to fall on the control panel and starts a power surge. Max goes to pick up the drill and is hit with a huge electric shock which arcs and throws him in the side of the tank of genetically modified sea life. The impact causes the tank to break and covers Max in the “sludge” as he passes out. He is rushed to the emergency room because of this accident.

The next morning Spider-Man slings through New York talking about how this situation might be too much for even his spider powers. Of course it is just a misdirect as he is talking about getting to school on time, which he fails to do. Sneaking into class he overhears Flash Thompson talking about Spider-Man and jumps to the conclusion he has been found out. In fact Flash is speaking of The Daily Bugle offering money for pictures of Spider-Man. Peter is upset that his idea has been stolen, but quickly gets over it when he sees he has gotten yet another A+ on a test. We also see that fellow student Liz Allan has gotten a D-.

Back at the hospital Eddie Brock waits to see the prognosis on Max. Curt comes out with a doctor and say that he will live but just barely. Rather than try to explain this statement they decide to show Eddie what has happened to his friend. It turns out the shock of electricity combined with the “sludge” caused Max’s body to generate Bio-Electricity. In fact it is producing such a high amount that he must be kept in an insulation suit or risk doing serious damage to those around him.

At the high school, Peter’s science teacher stops Liz Allan and explains that he would like Peter to tutor her so she doesn’t fail his class. Upset at the prospect of being forced to spent time with a nerd like “Petey” she suggest that Flash tutor her instead. The teacher is not amused by this prospect and dryly explains that the hope if for her grades to rise not continue to fall.

At the hospital, Max is coming to grips with the side effects of his newfound abilities, the primary being that the electromagnetic field his body produces means he can’t even watch TV. Eddie tries, unsuccessfully, to cut the tension with a joke, and Max says his plans are ruined and runs out of the hospital.

Meanwhile, at the Silver Spoon Café, Peter is attempted to teach Liz abou Biology, but all she wants to do it, all she wants to do is text. Enter Max Dillon trying to buy a cup of coffee and frightening the patrons with his appearance in his insulation suit. In spite of the stares and whispers he succeeds in buying a cup of coffee, but his conditions makes it impossible to drink. His anger getting the better of him, he causes the lights in the shop to explode with an electric surge, and flees the scene. Peter sees hi running and assumes he must be a thief and ditches Liz, telling her he has better things to do. This confidence seems to excite Miss Allan as Spidey kicks into action.

Despite Max just wanting to be left alone, Spider-Man engages him in battle and removes his helmet. This act causes Max to get angry and he defends himself again the wall crawler by using his powers. The fight continues until the Aunt May alarm goes off and Peter has to call and explain he’ll be late again. In the time it takes for Peter to make the call Max flees and Peter notes that Electro has gotten away.

The next day at school, Gwen approaches Peter and tells him about the accident with Max. This sends Peter into a guilt spiral about how he acted the night before. In an effort to alleviate said guilt Peter decides to apologize for his dismissal of Liz and offers her another chance at him helping her. He tells her if she’s interested she should meet him at the ESU science lab later that night.

While, Peter Parker is learning the subtle art of impressing a girl by not letting her walk all over you. Max is attempting to just go home. Waiting outside his house however are the same pair of police officers who helped save Norman Osborn from the Vulture and the doctor from the Emergency Room. The doctor calmly tries to get Max to come back to the hospital for treatment but when he declines the male officer gets mouthy and Max loses his temper again. He realizes that the only person who can help him is Dr. Curt Connors and flees the scene.

Peter, Gwen, and Eddie are working at the ESU lab, discussing possible ways to help Max. Peter suggests putting Max into a similar tank as the sea life to help syphon off the excess electricity. Dr. Connors dismisses this since Max isn’t biologically equipped to live underwater, and Eddie adds that introducing Max to water could have dire consequences. Before this lecture can continue Liz Allan shows up ready to be tutored.

Peter apologizes for Liz showing up, but Dr. Connors says that it is fine and Peter can tutor the girl because he has to do something in his office. This prompts Peter to give his version of the good doctor’s speech from the beginning of the episode. Meanwhile Curt is preparing to inject himself with more of his crazy lizard serum. Martha interrupts the act, and Curt begins to explain himself, however before he can get past genetically altered lizard solution, Max shows up at the lab.

Demanding a cure, Max threatens to hurt all present. Peter feels this will be the end of his secret identity, but luckily Eddie tries to stop Max to give Peter time to get the girls out of the lab. Once they are clear Peter goes into hero mode, and joins the fray. He begins by trying to apologize for his actions the night before but Max dismisses the gesture and christens himself Electro, after what Peter called him the night before. Peter does his best to draw Electro’s attention to allow Eddie and the Connors to get out of the lab. Once they are clear he decides to try and let Electro burn off the excess electricity.

The plan doesn’t go as expected and soon the fight has been brought out into the quad where rain is falling. Spider-Man dons a rubber glove he grabbed from the lab and uses t to land some hits on Electro. Soon the fight is brought to an on campus radio tower which Electro charges with electricity. To make matters worse the Aunt May alarm goes off and Peter has to explain why he is going to be late for a third night in a row. Aunt May is none to pleased and Peter hangs up the phone and declares he will be grounded, then quips that being grounded might not be the worst thing considering his current situation. At that time he makes note of the pool that is located a few buildings over, and remembering what Eddie said would happen if he introduced Max to water he sends him through the ceiling and causes him to burn off the excess electricity and knocks him out.

The next day, Peter is having a conversation with Liz about the night before. Peter thinks that a friendship may be blossoming here, before the jocks come back and he is brought back to Earth. He joins up with his own Ron and Hermione and laments that he thought he had actually gotten through to Liz.

As a coda we join the Connors cleaning up the lab after the attack. Curt picks up his injection device which had been struck by a stray bolt of electricity by Electro. He pockets the device as he and Martha leave the lab.

REVIEW

Now this is why I really love this show. The second episode is such a beautifully streamlines piece of television, that seamlessly moves from set piece to set piece telling two separate stories. The best part is when the two tales intersect and we see exactly why Peter Parker must keep his identity as Spider-Man a secret. I also really like that Electro has this thin connection to Spider-Man which adds an extra level to the proceedings.

The best part of this episode though is the fact that it paints Spider-Man as the bad guy. He just happens to see a man run from a coffee shop and assumes the worst. Then he is so obsessed with the fight that he completely fails to listen to his explanation.  Having Spider-Man act in the gray instead of making the proceedings black and white, makes everything seem that much more believable.

The other great bit is that we saw Curt Connors serum get hit with the electricity and now we are left wondering what such an event may hold for future episodes. I also like how subtly they allude to Gwen’s existing attraction to Peter, as well as Liz’s growing attraction to him. It’s there just enough to be noticed and adds that much more to the universe.

I have to admit that this is a great episode and I completely understand why it supplanted my memories of the first episode since they were aired together when the show premiered. I must say I was a bit unsure if I would want to actually continue with reviewing the series, but after watching this episode I am again reminded why I love this show so much.

s1e2Spider

SYNOPSIS

We open on Spider-Man telling us how he has spent his summer vacation as New York’s newest superhero, kicking butt and taking names, while web slinging through New York. His one regret is that school is starting tomorrow and he can’t seem to find any crime to thwart this evening. Luckily a couple of small time crooks are robbing a jewelry store and Spidey is right there and ready to stop them to stop them.  Unbeknownst to our hero, he is being watched by a shadowy figure who Hammerhead simple addresses as “The Big Man.” This video is enough to convince “The Big Man” to bring in the Enforcers to swat the bug,

The next morning Peter is getting ready for school and is in high hopes that this year will be different, riding high on the confidence of being Spider-Man. His elation is stopped though when he overhears Aunt May complaining to Anna Watson about their money troubles. Peter ever seeking the desire to please decided to not let his Aunt know that he was eavesdropping and instead pretends that he has just come down stairs. With a kiss and a lunch handoff he is out the door to school.

Before getting to see how his first day goes however, we are treated to a scene at Oscorp where Victor Toombs is blaming a short-bespectacled scientist for encouraging him to show Norman Osborne his magnetic flight system technology, which he then stole. Before Toombs can continue his abuse Osborne comes into the room and tells Toombs that he doesn’t care what Toombs does or says after a lifetime of failure no one will believe it was Osborne who stole the idea from him. The good news is that Victor no longer blames the initial scientist for his misfortune.

Back with Peter Parker, he is determined to not let the Parker monetary problems affect his outlook on the day. Soon he is greeted by his friends and fellow students Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy. Much to their surprise Peter is far more confident this year and before either of them can even begin to think of stopping him, Peter has set off to ask out cheerleader Sally Langston. Of course she loudly turns him down while simultaneously insulting him. Soon a cadre of jocks, including Flash Thompson and Liz Allen, has come out to humiliate Peter and steal his lunch. This humiliation is enough to remind our hero that while he may be Spider-Man at High School he is just king of the losers: Peter “Puny” Parker.

While Peter is going through something that supposedly effects 98% of all high school students we are greeted to Hammerhead introducing The Enforcers (Montana, Ox, and Fancy Dan) to “The Big Man” via Charlie’s Angels – esque voicebox. He explains that Spider-Man has been interfering with his operations all summer, and while they originally thought it was the thieves they employed wetting their beaks. They now had proof it was our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Their mission is stop his meddling once and for all.

Jump to Peter and Gwen in science class where, after a brief reminder that Peter was bitten by a genetically modified spider there last year, they have both been given internships at the ESU lab with Dr. Curt Connors. Both of them couldn’t be happier and since Peter doesn’t understand that 99.99% of all internships are unpaid he believes the Parker money problems are solved.

Since the internship doesn’t begin until an hour after school lets out. Peter opts to stay in the city, instead of going back to Forest Hills, and hang out at his best friend Harry’s. While there Norman Osborne overhears Peter speaking about the internship and asks him and Harry to join him on the veranda. Luckily, before Norman can really start in on his son with the verbal and mental abuse about him not even being considered for the position, Victor Toombs appears decked out in a bird themed costume, abducts Norman with his talons, and flies away calling himself The Vulture. Peter encourages Harry to call the police, and once the cost is clear Peter takes pursuit as Spider-Man. Peter is able to catch up and rescue Norman, but he loses the Vulture after dropping Norman at a nearby police. Peter is also content to leave the Vulture for later is the fact that he is running late for his job at the LSU lab.

As Peter runs to the lab entrance he is speaking with Harry on the phone about what happened with his father, and Peter explains that he had attempted to follow them on foot and that is why he suddenly disappeared. Before Harry can ask anymore probing questions, Peter ends the call citing he is late and Gwen is giving him “the look,” which she quickly rebukes. They enter the lab and find that employed there an assistant lab technician is their former classmate Eddie Brock. After Peter and Eddie call each other “bro” one time too many. Eddie introduced them to Dr. Connors wife Mary. Curt is otherwise indisposed in his office, injecting himself with a green liquid, After which he comes into the main lab and introduces himself to his two new employees.   It appears as if he may recognize Peter as being the student bit last school year, but Peter waves the off as finishing his sentence with “by the science bug.” Eddie begins to take them on a tour of the lab, and Peter asks how much he can expect to be paid. Eddie laughs and says its pro bono considering the lack of experience and Peter is visibly bummed.

Waiting for the bus with Gwen, Peter bemoans his situation. Confiding in his friend that as great an opportunity as the internship is, he should instead be looking for paying work to help his Aunt. Gwen tells him not to worry, that things have a way of working out. As Gwen leaves on her bus, Peter secretly wishes she is right and is smacked in the face by a copy of The Daily Bugle blowing in the wind. Seeing they have a headline regarding Spider-Man, Peter had an idea of how to solve all of his problems.

We cut to a very awkward scene of Peter, in his street clothes, climbing up the Daily Bugle building complaining that he wasn’t let past security. After saying that May and Ben Parker didn’t raise a quitter he breaks into a janitor closet with a plan to tell the editor his plan. Unfortunately, after barking orders to his Newsroom, J. Jonah Jameson mistakes Parker for an employee he sent to get him a bagel and schmeer ten minutes ago. Betty Brant corrects him that it was in fact Benny he sent and that it had only been three minutes. Seeing his opportunity Peter pitches to Jonah that he could easily get him photos of Spider-Man and that such an acquisition would surely sell a lot of papers. Jonah dismisses him for being a child and trying to tell him how to do his job. Though as Peter is being escorted out by security you can hear him talking with Robbie Robertson about how Spider-Man pictures would sell papers.

Defeated after a day where nothing seems to have gone his way, Peter returns to the Osborne’s veranda as Spider-Man to retrieve his shoes. Meanwhile, down below, Norman Osborne is being dropped off in his Limo, when the Vulture strikes again. Seeing this Spidey jumps into action, but this time it is not just the Vulture he has to deal with, but also The Enforces have come to play in their very own gunship.  Just as Spidey is about to get the upper hand of the Vulture, Montana shoots him with a net and brings him down on a nearby rooftop. Fancy Dan and Ox engage him and are handily defeated once Spider-Man decides to use their strengths against them. From there he is pursued by Montatina n the helicopter as The Vulture also continues to attack him. Seeing no way to defeat both villains, as they are splitting his focus, Spider-Man decides the best way to beat them is to turn the two threats against each other. Using some quick thinking he tricks The Vulture into coming close to the rear propeller shoving his wing blades into the spinning rotor. This causes the helicopter to lose control, but leaves Toombs in the air. Turns out his wings were just for steering, his ability to fly comes from the power source located on his back. Spider-Man hastily destroys this and webs up The Vulture to be arrested by New York’s finest, he then surveys the scene of the fight and notes that Montana has escaped justice. Consider three out of four bad guys as not bad considering, he heads home, after of course picking up his shoes.

As Peter arrives home, he attempts to sneak in his bedroom window, but sees his Aunt sitting on his bed. Seeing he has been caught he goes in the front door where he is met by Aunt May, who chews him out for coming home at midnight. Peter attempts to explain, but Aunt May stymies him, and gives him a hard ten o’clock curfew. She of course isn’t a total hard ass and says he can call if he might be late, but reminds him that such a call better be to tell her that he is on his way home and running later. Peter agrees to these terms and they each celebrate with a piece of banana cream pie.  As he eats Peter reflects that though he may have had the day he anticipated, in the end it turns out he has a pretty great life anyway.

REVIEW

Damn, I forgot how much actually took place in the first episode. All I remembered was that the Vulture was the big bad. Everything else had completely fallen out of my memory. I blame this mostly on the fact that when this show premiered they showed both the first and second episode. Not to downplay the importance of this episode, but the second one is much more streamlined and thus more memorable. Of course after watching it again tomorrow I may find I was wrong about calling it streamlined, but we can save that helping of crow for then.

I suppose this episode feels so full because they have to pack everything into it. Even though everybody should be familiar with the origins of Spider-Man by now, it’s still almost expected that the first installment will give you that retelling of how he got his powers. While I am glad that in this episode the whole bitten by a radioactive spider bit is reserved for a short flashback, when you consider all of the other world building that occurs it gets a bit lost in the shuffle. Which makes me wonder why even bother to include it. The intro clearly shows him being bitten by the spider and I think that should be enough when paired with the exposition of Spidey’s first monologue. If they hadn’t included that small scene then I feel like everything else would have been given that little bit extra to breathe and the proceedings might not have felt so rushed.

Still the idea of setting a piece of Spider-Man media while he is still a high school student is brilliant. I feel like it has been largely ignored since it first happened in the comic books, and I applaud the risk they took with creating an entire property around the largely unexplored time period. One must also give praise to how they took aspects of Spider-Man’s life as an adult and seamlessly weaved them into that time in his life so that there exists an air of familiarity. It makes the entire proceedings feel like a mixture of the Ultimate Marvel universe and the Movie Universe, and after seeing the new film it seems as if it also existed as the template for the new story they are telling.

My favorite part though is all the setting up for future episodes that is done in this first episode. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when you consider the show is being brought to us by Greg Weissman, the same cartoon creative genius who brought the world Gargoyles, which is specifically evidenced in the fact that Spidey runs by a set of Gargoyles that resembles the main cast in the opening scene.

If there is one thing he knows how to handle with amazing care is the introduction of seemingly ancillary characters early on in the series who will eventually mean a whole lot more. While the most blatant is Curt Connors injecting himself with something when we first meet him, one cannot discount that fact that the first two thugs that Spider-Man busts are Flint Marko and Alex O’Hirn who if you read the series both eventually become well-known Spidey villians. I also recognized in this viewing that Jonah mistakes Peter for a Bugle employee named Benny and in the comics Peter had a clone by the name of Ben Reilly, and even though this is never addressed in the twenty-six episodes produced, it is nice to see they gave themselves the opportunity if they had wanted to. There is so much hidden right out in the open that once you go back after viewing the entire series you seen how much planning went into building the world of The Spectacular Spider-Man and it just makes you love the series that much more.

Overall this is a very solid episode of the series. While it will never be in the running for my favorite episode, it does do a very admirable job setting up the world, and succeeds in being entertaining throughout.

SPIDER SENSE

  • Main Villains: Victor “The Vulture” Toombs & The Enforcers: Ox, Fancy Dan, and Montana
  • Number of future villains introduced or alluded to: 7
  • One and Done Gadget: Spider Signal

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Hello everybody. I know that I was basically dark for the year 2013 due to the myriad of changes that I was going through as a direct result of receiving a new job. Looking back, some of the most fun I had with this blog was the Month of Codes in February 2012. In an effort to recapture that enjoyment I decided I would do another February feature. This time instead of focusing on video games codes I will be looking back on a cartoon series I fell in love with way back in 2008 when it premiered.

The series in question is “Spectacular Spiderman” which due to some creative coupon usage at Toys R Us I recently picked up in full for just $23.00.

Since it has exactly 26 episodes my intention is to watch and review an episode a day. With the first being used for the explanation you are currently reading and the last day as a place to list my ten favorite episodes of the series.

If you’re able, I definitely recommend following along… but if you can’t in addition to the reviews I will be including some ridiculous photos of my Spectacular Spider-Man figure each day so you can at least have something fun to look at.

If you’re still on the fence I suggest following this link and watching the theme song for the show. I guarantee you won’t be able to resist singing along and since the catchiness of the theme is the only reason I even began watching the show I think its a perfect place for the uninitiated to start.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxtvogVepSg

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS: Usually I don’t lead with this but this review will be so saturated with Spoilers that if I were to remove them there would be nothing left

“They were a group of friends unlike anyone else” this is the way that the Virgin Asian English Major decided to start off the first episode of Underemployed, the latest offering from MTV that is designed to find comedy and tragedy in the trials and tribulations of a bunch of know nothing Twenty-Somethings. The Virgin Asian English Major then proceeded to completely annihilate her opening statement, by telling us how there is actually nothing unique about her group of friends, so right off the bat we can’t even trust our narrator as far as we could throw her, which I imagine would be pretty far considering in addition to being a virgin, Asian, and an English major she is also quite petite. I mean if I tried to throw her it probably wouldn’t be that impressive , but if say nineties Hulk Hogan, you know back when he was on the dope,  were to throw her he’d probably toss her the entire length of a football field and have the world record for farthest toss of a Virgin Asian English Major. As a note I’m sure she has a real name and I’m sure it was said during the episode, but I don’t remember it and as much as it would make my life easier I am going to continue to type out Virgin Asian English Major every time I refer to her because if there is one thing that was ingrained in my head by the first episode of Underemployed it is that the Ted Mosby of this story is a Virgin Asian English Major.

Which seems like the perfect time to transition into the other characters in this tragic comedy. In addition to the Virgin Asian English Major we are soon introduced to the Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe, the Vaguely Latino Musician, the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger, and the Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome. I could have made it easy on myself by calling her the Hot one, but as my Suicide Pact and Solidarity Brother in watching Underemployed pointed out “Their ‘hot’ one isn’t that hot…” Plus there is the fact that even if she were that hot she would still be the Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome, which if I’m sticking to a strict system of calling these character’s strictly by what the writer’s continued to harp on and make sure I knew about these characters then this is unfortunately the only way I can refer to her.

Now that we know the players… on with the show.

A year ago these fresh-faced young Turks stood on a bridge and said that they were going to conquer the world. After the bridge scene, there was one more scene set in the past where it was revealed that the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger and the Vaguely Latino Musician are dating and what with the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger going for his Master’s degree in New Orleans and the Vaguely Latino Musician’s dream being to go on tour with a band clearly it is time for them to break up. Their rationale is that this is what adults do and it will make them better friends.

Flash Forward one year and we see that things haven’t been that great for our Quintet. Our faithful narrator the Virgin Asian English Major is now working at a Doughnut Shop named by the ever clever writers Doughnut Girl and being called a bitch by customers because they are out of maple bacon bars and having maple bacon bars is her job. Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe, who let’s face it had the least prospects from the beginning prelude, is now living with a Hot Blond Russian Bulimic who was supposed to have gone home a year ago  (who I’m not sure is part of the group or not) and none other than the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger fresh out of his Master’s program in just one year. Truly an achievement to be excited about and also something that never happens, clearly he has dropped out of school but we are given no explanation why. In addition to being roommates, Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe is doing the jobs that would be expected of someone who dreams of being an actor, a model, or famous these jobs are best known as “odd jobs” and when we first meet him he is acting as a Stripper-Gram for an old woman in an office and when we join him back at the apartment he is getting ready to work a catering job. Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger is part of one of those clipboard groups and we see him on a street corner trying to get people to talk to him about the environment. Next we catch up with the Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome, who had hinted at wanting to make big money in marketing during the bridge scene and is now shown in a board room presenting a campaign for dog food that’s so good humans can eat it too. Everything seems to be going well until Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome is asked to eat some of the dog food. Wait hold up, why is that bad, why was this scene shown against being ignored on the street, stripping for old ladies, and selling doughnuts as Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome not being where she wants to be in life. Her whole desire is to work in marketing and she is working for a marketing firm, plus if the dog food is going to be marketed as something that humans can also eat wouldn’t it actually be good enough for humans to eat. I’m sorry but I just don’t feel that she is in that bad a way, she’s actually doing what she said she wanted to be doing and it would be foolish for her or anyone else to believe that after one year she would be on top of the marketing world. Now if her marketing were working at Kohl’s selling shirts to people then that would mean she failed at least on par with the rest of her friends. However, doing the job you wanted to do even if its not in the highest paid position is a victory and here is just one example of a counterintuitive to actually being awesome act, but don’t worry its just the first of many for Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome. Finally there is Vaguely Latino Musician who in a very cool shot looked like she was performing on stage and then we pulled out to see she was just working the bar at the club. Then we jump from her in some club to her standing on the doorstep of Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger and Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe’s very large apartment appearing very pregnant. That’s right we have our first title change of the episode from here on Vaguely Latino Musician will be referred to as Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician. It is revealed that Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician has left LA (which I’m pretty sure is supposed to stand for Los Angeles but I couldn’t help but think of Louisiana considering that is where Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger went to school) and come back to Chicago because of her pregnancy.

Upon the revelation the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger freaks out because apparently he can’t do math. We have been told that a year has gone by and his ex-girlfriend that he broke up with a year ago has shown up pregnant. Now personally she didn’t look like she was that far along in this scene so I figured she got knocked up by some stranger in Shreveport (I’m sticking with my guns that she was in Louisiana, if only because the jokes are more esoteric) and then showed up at her ex-boyfriend’s house, you know like you do. Yet when Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger sees Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician he instantly assumes he is the father and starts talking about getting married and settling down, like a total dumb ass. Which leads us to name change number two, from here on Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger will be referred to as Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass. (I know what you’re thinking: “Devon isn’t the fact that he’s a Dumb Ass implied by his original title?” and the answer is yes, but his actions and his assumption that his ex-girlfriend is something like eleven  months pregnant have made it necessary to remind us each time he is mention how big a dumb ass he actually is.) Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician reacts in the way that one would imagine to a man offering her support in a time of need. She runs away from him.

Well I spent far too long on those two so lets get back to Virgin Asian English Major who is in the process of experiencing a moment that we have been told by the media is oh so embarrassing: Running into a former classmate who is more successful than you. Except much like when Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome had to eat dog food to do her job in marketing, this moment had no bite behind it. From what we know about Virgin Asian English Major her life long dream is to be a famous writer, working in a doughnut shop is exactly the kind of thing a struggling writer would do. It’s the kind of job that as Virgin Asian English Major said allows her to pay the rent, but it also fosters the interaction with many different types of people which should act as an inspiration for your writing. Unlike other jobs writers don’t get paid until they sell an idea or a book, and since food, clothes, shelter, and Angry Birds aren’t free you unfortunately need a job that will inspire you to write in order to pay for these necessities until the time when you are lucky enough to sell an idea or book. Once Virgin Asian English Major gets over her initial embarrassment of running into a former classmate, the two share doughnuts on the bench outside of Doughnut Girl. I was particularly impressed that Virgin Asian English Major got over her embarrassment before finding out that former classmate was a clerk at a law firm, not that glamourous,  and that the attractive black woman he was in the shop with was actually his boss. As they sat on the bench Virgin Asian English Major revealed that every night she sits down and attempts to write something on her computer and then five minutes later she ends up playing Angry Birds on her phone. Former classmate admits to playing a lot of Angry Birds too in a very awkwardly written attempt at flirtation and the two make plans to talk some more, though they don’t exchange numbers so all of you out there thinking she might be on her way to a name change I’d stop thinking that way. Virgin Asian English Major is then called back into the shop and bid farewell to her former classmate and says that it was nice meeting her to his black boss.

Back to my favorite one to bitch about Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome. It’s about time we are given a reason to feel sorry for her and the writers must be reading my mind because here it is. Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome confronts her boss, Todd (a.k.a. the guy who made her eat dog food a.k.a. the only character whose name I didn’t have to think about to type) about the fact that she has worked for the company for a year and still isn’t being paid. That’s example number two of an action counterintuitive to actually being awesome. Awesome people usually get paid for what they are doing and if they aren’t getting paid they usually speak up about it before they’ve given a year of their time for free. Todd says that he’ll look into it and asks if Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome wants to have lunch. She says she’ll go get the menu binder and Todd explains that he would like to take her out to lunch (example three of acting counterintuitive to actually being awesome: Not knowing when someone is asking you to lunch). Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome agrees and says “Let’s lunch it up” and then as Todd turns and walks out the door under her breath admonishes herself for saying lunch it up (example four: Awesome people never question if what they said was awesome). At lunch Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome easily gives us our fifth example by assuming that Todd has only asked her out to lunch to fire her, fearing that she would have made a scene in the office. (Awesome people never assume the worst.) Todd calms her down and explains that he took her out to dinner because he thinks she’s smart and pretty, which is about the greatest compliment that Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome has ever heard and with that we have example six: Awesome people know how to take a god damn compliment, because they are used to them, because they hear them all the time, because they are awesome. This one compliments turns into very awkward making out in public, then a commercial break, when we come back to more awkward making out this time in a parking structure, finally we wind up in Todd’s car and Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome asks him what the employee handbook says about interoffice romance, he doesn’t have an answer and it turns into the two having sex in the back of his car. This is the first actual awesome thing that the character did but at this point its one awesome point to six counterintuitive to awesome points. Honestly I don’t know if she can beat the spread.

As if the writer’s knew that I would be nervous about Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome’s actual status as awesome, and not giving a damn what I as an audience member think,  the next scene is of her and Virgin Asian English Major on a train platform where Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome is asking the person least likely to be able to help her with this problem what she should do about sleeping with her boss. That’s another counterintuitive point since awesome people don’t question that kind of stuff they just brag about it. Luckily Virgin Asian English Major is there with a forced quotation of Emily Dickinson in order to put it all in perspective for Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome and also remind us that she’s not just a virgin Asian but an English major as well. The two are on the train platform to meet Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician and find out that she is going to be staying with her Mother and then they ride the train. I’m not sure why, they didn’t actually go anywhere and based upon what was said it felt as if Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician had already been home and talked to her Mother about it.

Jump to Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe working at the catering gig and being eye-fucked by an older woman, who happens to work for GQ and would like him to come to a party she is throwing the next night for Calvin Klein. Significant because Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe’s dream was to one day be an underwear model for Calvin Klein. Soon the two are on the street and she asks if they should go back to his place or hers. He correctly answers hers and we assume has a night of mind blowing sexual awakening later that knight he comes home to Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb

As we get to this point I am reminded of a scene that was so short it was blink and you miss it that happened earlier in the episode. Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe and Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass were on the phone with one another and the topic was that Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass needed to confirm whether or not the baby was his, but he had to be careful because it would be the worst question in the world to ask. Personally I think it’s not that bad a question because well having a baby is a pretty life changing event, plus in this scenario it’s a question that doesn’t need to be asked. Let’s face it unless she’s pregnant with Boo Radley there is no way that she has been pregnant for eleven months. I kept hoping that maybe the show would have flashbacks, like Lost or any other show produced after Lost that’s trying to be as good as Lost by only emulating the flashbacks, and we might get to see what happened to these Five in the year between then and now, but I doubt that will happen. Instead the phone call ended with Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe saying that in his friend’s honour he would be buying a twenty-four pack of condoms.

Back to the present in the storyline, on the heels of Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe telling him he got laid and is now going to get to meet Calvin Klein. Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass heads over to Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musicians house with flowers to try and convince her to love him. When he arrived her Mother was all excited because all she did was lock herself in her room and play her music and she figured that if anybody could get her daughter out of her room then it was Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass. In he went and he tried to coyly ask if she had been with anybody else and she got angry and threw him out, without confirming or denying that it is his baby. If it were me, I still don’t think I would be at a point where I think the kid is mine.

Still the next morning Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass goes out for a delightful fantasy montage of him going into different buildings and asking if there are any jobs available. Only to be told no at every turn. The no’s weren’t the fantasy part, the fantasy came in the fact that he was able to walk into these buildings and speak to somebody about employment. I’ve tried it and trust me it doesn’t work, you’re told that job applications are accepted online, or that they aren’t seeing applicants, or that the position has already been filled, by the front desk secretary long before you wind up sitting in an office with someone to tell you the exact same thing.

Leaving Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass defeated we join back up with Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome at her job. She has decided to take the advice of Virgin Asian English Major to heart and either not date Todd and keep her job and start getting paid or if they won’t pay then quit the job so she can have sexy time with Todd in public. Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome confronts Todd and asks about the raise and he says he wasn’t able to do anything yet, so she enacts plan B and quits and tells Todd it’s so they can be together. Again not awesome, for those not counting along that’s eight now. It was definitely a crazy bitch move… but not awesome. Todd now on the verge of losing his best employee who reminds him of himself at that age comes clean and tells Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome that he has a girlfriend. In a display of actually being awesome Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome tells him to end it in a very matter of fact way. When Todd says he can’t she then demands that she get paid because she won’t quit if it doesn’t mean getting Todd as a consolation prize. He offers her $300 a week she says no, he offers her $500 a week and a parking space, she says she can’t afford a car  and  he offers her $750 a week, she says $750 a week and a parking space, because now she can afford a car (teehee).

As a brief side note let’s talk about the fact that if she is making $750 a week that means she makes 39K a year which I don’t what world the writers are living in, but here in the real world is nowhere near the definition of underemployed.

It’s okay though because we now get to cut over to Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass who is in a meeting with his Father. His Father runs one of those companies that is raping the environment and since his son is an Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass he is none to happy to have his Son coming to him and asking for help, especially when his Son has been talking smack about what his Father does right to his face. It’s cool though the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass is smart enough to tell his Father he’s not looking for help he’s looking for a job, initially exciting his Father until he mentions it’s because he got Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician pregnant which prompts his Father to call him a stupid son of a bitch. Again I’m not sure that he actually did get her pregnant. I did gloss over the whole scene where he went to her house with flowers and her Mother was all excited because all she did was lock herself in her room and play her music and she figured that if anybody could get her daughter out of her room then it was Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass. In he went and he tried to coyly ask if she had been with anybody else and she got angry and threw him out, without confirming or denying that it is his baby. If it were me, I still don’t think I would be at a point where I think the kid is mine.

Regardless Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass’ father gives him a job in the mailroom. As another side note, as we later join Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe on his way to the Calvin Klein party we find that Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass will be making 35K a year, this is later amended when he is talking with Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician to 30K a year, which is addition to being bad continuity on the part of the writers is also again not indicative of being underemployed.

Picking up  from Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe on the way to the party he eventually arrives and meets up with the older woman who works at GQ who seems surprised that he has shown up, guess the sex wasn’t as mind blowing as I would have imagined. “Mike?” is how she greets him and he corrects her and goes forward to introduce himself to the silver haired gentleman that she was talking to assuming he is Calvin Klein. The silver haired gentleman reveals he is not Calvin Klein and that Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe is there to act as a server and hands him a pair of tight black bike shorts to wear, adding that if he doesn’t have a big package to wrap it in a tortilla. It is here where we again must pause to play my new favorite game nickname revision. Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe has used the entire episode to talk about how he wanted to be a model for Calvin Klein, one would assume that means he knows what Calvin Klein looks like. Granted I assumed that the silver-haired man was Calvin Klein but I don’t know anything about fashionable underwear, let alone the person who designs them. Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe should know considering his dreams and it was also foolish to assume his one night cougar catch was trying to get him a job with Calvin Klein, that is why from this moment forward Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe will be known as Semi-Retarded Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe, because well his actions were so stupid that I am pretty sure he has some kind of mental deficiency.

You know it’s been awhile since I mentioned Virgin Asian English Major so let’s go back to her. She’s closing up the Doughnut Girl and the phone rings. In true to life retail employee in a closed store style she answers and rudely informs whomever is on the other line that the store is closed, but what’s this she knows whose on the other line, not only that but they have asked her to go out. She agrees and then looks at her Doughnut Girl uniform and says that she has to change first. Looks like that whole scene with her former classmate wasn’t just to set up understanding for her playing Angry Birds instead of writing in that one blink and you miss it scene. Another side note I was very upset with the fact that she has apparently been playing Angry Birds instead of writing, but that she is only on level 3-2. I mean if she’s been procrastinating for almost a year with Angry Birds one would hope that she would have actually gotten good at the game and not still be on the first episode. Back to the show we find out that it’s not the former classmate who called but his boss the black female lawyer. As it turns out she is also a lesbian and that is why she asked out our little Virgin Asian English Major. After taking some interest in her writing and telling her instead of trying to write Call of Duty meets Devil Wears Prada she should write what she knows. Virgin Asian English Major is all, but there’s nothing interesting about me, to which black female lesbian lawyer says that’s not true she agreed to meet her for a drink and then touches her hair.

Cut to loud female orgasm sound effects as the black female lesbian lawyer eats out our narrator like a take out order of shrimp fried rice. You know what that means another fun filled game of nickname revision. Since even she admits that it wasn’t really sex later on in the episode and Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome in another example of not being awesome jumps to “in the butt” and Virgin Asian English Major says we’ll talk about it later.  I hereby decree that from this point on we refer to Virgin Asian English Major as Sexually Confused Possibly a Lesbian but Definitely Still a Virgin Asian English Major.

As much as I would like to skip back to the Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome’s storyline we need to take a quick stop at the shared apartment of the Semi-Retarded Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe and the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass, where we join the latter and the Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician as the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass tells her he got a job making real money with his Dad and she got all pissed off because he’s giving up on his dreams. This would have been a great time for her to reveal to him that it’s not his baby… but instead they just continued the fight about how he’s trying to do right by the girl he thinks he impregnated but she doesn’t want his help she wants his love. This means that Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician doesn’t understand the fact that Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass saying he’ll give up his dreams for her is such a huge display of true love and instead allows the act to upset her. I’d add the term oblivious to her title, but I’m going to blame the lapse in common sense on a combination of pregnancy brain and fiery vaguely Latino attitude. Thankfully after an eleven months gestation when a distraction was needed Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician went into labor and bailed the poor sap out. As soon as she went into labor the Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass found the right words to explain it was love that was motivating him and the release of amniotic fluid also seemed to have cleared her head and finally allowed her to actually accept all of the love and support he was offering.

Now we’re back on my (sarcasm) favorite character (end sarcasm) Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome, for a little bit of character development. At least that is what I thought we would get when she came home to talk to her Father who she lived with and watch a YouTube video of her brother who is apparently in the armed force overseas dancing with his squad mates. It is revealed that her Father is at least partially responsible for her desire for everyone to think that she’s awesome, when he asks her if she handled it the way that he would have. Unfortunately that is the only reveal we had in the scene as she got a text message about Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician going into labor and had to leave. I suppose there was a bit more character development right there at the end when she just left without telling her Father why and told him he should considering wearing pants and we flashed down to his boxers. One would think that if you have enough time to insult your Father’s casual wear then you could also say my friend is having a baby.

Cut to Semi-Retarded Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe, Sexually Confused Possibly a Lesbian but Definitely Still a Virgin Asian English Major, Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome, and Hot Blond Russian Bulimic in the back of a cab. This was probably my favorite scene in the whole episode as Semi-Retarded Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe tried unsuccessfully to get the cab driver to go faster. In the end Hot Blond Russian Bulimic spoke to the driver in her native tongue and there was a noticeable increase in speed. This is why I want the Hot Blond Russian Bulimic to be a part of the gang, because she keeps her mouth shut and gets shit done when it needs to be.

Soon the whole gang wound up at the hospital and it was a grand reunion. They were happy to see that Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass and Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician had reconciled. Quick bit of housekeeping nickname revision for Vaguely Latino Explicitly Pregnant Musician, she shall hereafter go by    Unwed Vaguely Latino Mother, until a time when she is seen playing music outside of the home again. Semi-Retarded Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe regaled Sexually Confused Possibly a Lesbian but Definitely Still a Virgin Asian English Major and Girl Who Desperately Wants Us to Believe She is Awesome but Continually Does Things that are Counterintuitive to Actually Being Awesome with the story of working for Calvin Klein and how he somehow got pictures of him talking with Calvin, the GQ lady getting mad, Security kicking him out, and GQ lady getting in trouble with the police for creating a disturbance. In the final picture it looked as if she was giving him the “call me” sign so we probably haven’t seen the last of her. Then he revealed that Calvin Klein had asked him for his headshot and that is looks like he may be on his way to achieving his dreams. Then he went over to Hot Blond Russian Bulimic to tell her the same story and show her the same pictures leaving the two girls alone to discuss whether or not Sexually Confused Possibly a Lesbian but Definitely Still a Virgin Asian English Major had lost her anal virginity.

Soon they were all in the delivery room and passing around a newborn baby, which is usually frowned upon, but I guess when you have been pregnant for so long the baby just comes out and starts walking like a wild animal. Seriously I am still bothered by the fact that it appears as if Idealistic Hippy Tree Hugger Dumb Ass is actually the Father considering you know real world facts.

In the end we were treated to a lovely voice over monologue from Sexually Confused Possibly a Lesbian but Definitely Still a Virgin Asian English Major about how you don’t always get what you want in life and even when you do it might be at the expense of something else, still if you’re living life to the fullest then there is no way that you are underemployed. As she said the title of the show she took out a lined notebook and wrote the word at the top of the page letting us know that this is the story we are going to be told over the course of the season.

That is if I keep watching this show. Which I probably won’t as much fun as it was to nickname all these whiny little kids, the show overall was awful. I am a big enough person to admit that I am probably biased because I feel as if this show took the place of I Just Want My Pants Back which actually nailed the whole thing about being young and unsuccessful in a realistic and meaningful manner. Unfortunately when held against I Just Want My Pants Back, this show was just not very good or believable.

But don’t just take my word for it here is a summation from my Suicide Pact and Solidarity Brother: “Not only does this new version of an older better show fail to capture the idea of being ‘Underemployed’ it also feels the need to crowbar in awkward quotations and attempt to teach us all something about life. Whilst managing to fail on all comedic cylinders and preaching to its audience, it fails to show any of the beauty and splendor of Chicago” ~ WJM Fournier.

Oh yeah that’s right very late in the episode I came to the realization that they are in Chicago, which is something, because up until that point I thought it was New York, despite the Sexually Confused Possibly a Lesbian but Definitely Still a Virgin Asian English Major saying they should meet in New York in a year in the beginning, I thought maybe she meant Manhattan as they were walking on the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s also important to note its Chicago because it doesn’t feel like the kind of place where a Semi-Retarded Actor/Model/Famous Guy Wannabe and someone who desires to be a marketing superstar would live. Those both seem like strictly New York City jobs to me and since the other three could literally live in any city for what they want to do. Leaving me with just one question why would you set this show in Chicago and not New York?

Last night (8/26/2012) Aaron Sorkin’s latest opus, The Newsroom, brought the curtain down on its first season. While I have been a big fan of the Newsroom since it began airing on June 24th and a huge Sorkin fan since the family got a copy of “A Few Good Men” in 1993 and watched it religiously every weekend. As the Newsroom has progressed I have come to have some slight problems with it. Now that the first season is over I feel confident in putting those problems down on paper.

First I would like to focus on the finale which aired last night. There was a lot of good and a lot of bad present in the episode. Initially I was wary when the title of the episode was not “What Kind of Day Has it Been.” Since Sorkin’s first television show, Sports Night, the season one finale has always has always been “What Kind of Day Has it Been.” The Newsrooms deciding to buck this trend was a little disappointing to me, still the title they did go with “The Greater Fool,” had great significance to the overall plot of the show and after watching the episode I am completely alright with the change. In fact one some level I’m happy it happened because now I no longer will expect first season finale’s to have the title, thus my expectations will never again be dashed. The unfortunate thing is even though the title issue resolved rather quickly that initial feeling of dread was constantly hanging over this episode.

I will start by saying there were some moments that were just amazing in the piece. Will referencing the Knight of Mirrors chapter of Don Quixote was fantastic, even if the whole comparison seems to make little to no sense in the whole. How is it that they think News Night = Don Quixote? They are actually doing some good, they are standing up for Journalistic Integrity, they are seeking to civilize the modern media machine. They are not deluded old men who are tilting at windmills they think are giants. The adversaries that Will, Mac, Charlie, and the rest of the gang are fighting are a very very real threat to the well being of our country and I am growing tired of the parallels, even if occasionally it will mean a very esoteric reference to the text.

Another fantastic moment was when Solomon Hancock and Charlie met in the park and Solomon went on his tangent about Beef Stew. My personal love of beef stew aside, it was such great character development in such a modest package. Solomon felt like he was of no use to anybody in the world, it was sad, humbling, and most importantly completely conveyed in the scene where he said he wasn’t looking for Quid Pro Quo, he was really seeking a way to stay relevant. That one scene made his otherwise regrettable and forgettable suicide a turning point in the episode. He fought and fought and fought for the truth but in so doing he was unable to enact and secure the change he so desired. He thought he had found his kindred spirits in the News Night Group, but when they too cast him aside it was time to give it up. It shows the importance that there is in the cast continuing to trust and support one another in their quest, for if it waivers for a moment it could mean the difference between life and death.

Also as much as I hate having to admit it, the moment when Maggie ran out to chase Lisa and they did the whole homage to the opening of Sex and the City was pretty inspired television. I wish it could have just been that but when Maggie started giving her lecture about how the show was nothing like real life and then Jim ended up being on the tour, which we all knew was going to happen, all of the joy that the show had instilled upon me was instantly gone.

Finally last bit I have to mention was the final faceoff between Our Three Musketeers (see I can compare character’s to literature too) and Leona and Reese Lansing. Setting it in a before unseen executive dining area was brilliant. This was back alley dealings being committed by front window staff and the setting completely reflected the latter. The entire cinematography of the scene was beautiful and Leona’s reaction to Reese’s action were the perfect balance of motherly and managerial. The final note being that she is now on officially their side in their quest to civilize was perfect and sets up the scene for a new big bad coming in and threatening the new world order that McAvoy envisions and with literally hundreds of death threats there are plenty of players already chomping at the bit to fill her shoes.

There’s the good now it’s time for the bad. Which is sort of the entire rest of the episode. Alright that’s a cop out, it’s easy to cite the things that worked and then write off everything else as failure. Fact is a lot of the rest of the episode worked well. It’s just these moments that they decide to add in the name of what I believe they believe to be humour and overall they hurt the show overall. Mac beating Will as he lay in a hospital bed recovering was unwarranted. I don’t care if she waited two or two hundred days to hit him for acting stupid. Actions like that are why I hate her character. She keeps acting like she is this intelligent character and over and over and over again she acts in a way that doesn’t support her claims. She ends up looking like ignorant because she believes she’s smart when in actuality she is quite stupid. Stupid is what I call someone who messes with tubes stuck into a recovering person in a hospital bed, and its even more stupid to not take responsibility for those actions. I know that’s a nit-pick and I’m sure it didn’t bother anyone else but I do not see what makes this woman so special that Will is that broken up over her.

That was kind of the big one, I live my life trying to focus on positives and not negatives. I will have more negatives after this paragraph but before I get them I want to do something for you dear reader that perhaps will assist you in understanding my biggest gripe with the Newsroom. I would like to create some context.

In the first paragraph I referenced Aaron Sorkins breakout film debut, A Few Good Men. This is what took him off of Broadway and into the pictures. Arguably if A Few Good Men never happened then there would have been no Newsroom, no West Wing, and no The Social Network. A Few Good Men in addition to being a very influential part of Aaron Sorkins’ success is also my favorite movie of all time. The reason this is significant is because Twenty Years ago this December is when A Few Good Men came out in Theatres. Now the reasons why I love A Few Good Men are endless, the writing, the acting, the cinematography, the scope. The movie has so much going for it that a sane man would never even dream of trying to isolate the one isotope that makes the movie perfect in his opinion. Being insane I have done just that. The reason why I believe A Few Good Men is a perfect movie is that there is no love story, none. It would have been amazingly simple to insert a love story into the film, simply have Demi Moore fall for Tom Cruise. In fact having seen the movie and read the original Broadway script I believe the film producers may have wanted to do just that, because the scene in the crab house is not present anywhere in the original play. Thankfully, they did not add in a love story and that movie was story that was able to stand on its own laurels because of the power of the dialogue and its delivery.

Fast Forward to today and low and the Newsroom and Aaron Sorkin has gone from giving us no love story whatsoever to six distinct tales of love. “Six?” You ask. “Surely you just mean two or three if you include that weird Don/Sloan thing that originated for the first time last night?” Well I hate to be cynical but in truth the Newsroom has asked its viewers to follow along with Six total love stories and yes I a including the Don/Sloan curveball from last night. These love stories are in no particular order: Jim/Maggie, Will/Mac, Mac/Brian, Don/Maggie, Jim/Lisa, and the aforementioned Don/Sloan. That’s insane and completely unnecessary for the story. The plot of a news program trying to be relevant and entertaining that is enough for me. Just like the story of the President of the United States going about his day to day was enough for me. Sure occasionally you have a love episode, but that was occasional. One of the main crutches of the Newsroom is the whole aspect of love inherently present and the more and more it takes the center stage over the mission to civilize the more and more fed up with the players I become.

Currently the only character’s I truly like on the show are secondary and tertiary:

I love Charlie Skinner, because he is a great character and he is the true driving force behind the change that has been made at News Night. Not only that but he is a competent boss who really cares about his employees.

I am a big fan of Neil whose childlike optimism and belief in Big Foot and the like is a great facet to the character as long as it doesn’t become all he is, Neil is very aware despite seeming caught up in fantasy, and I believe that he uses it as a coping mechanism to escape from the horrible truth that surrounds the world.

I love Tess, Tamara, and Gary (For those scratching your heads and going who, they are the Blond Girl, the Red-head, and the Black guy respectively) three characters who are pitch perfect in their representation. Every time I have worked in a group environment there have been the Garys and Tamaras and Tesses. People who are there and working hard but not necessarily as outspoken as the rest of the group.

Dr. Habib is an amazing character and so far the only person I think has been able to have a real conversation with Will and he was only in one episode. Granted I have watched that episode more than any of the others, but he was such a strong character and I want more of him next season.

Lisa is a brilliant character and I hate that she is stuck in the situation that she’s in. She is the girl that every guy should want to be with, she’s attractive, funny, and insightful. Jim should be happy he found her and that she wants to be with him because she is the anti-Maggie. I hope she also takes a bigger role in season two because she is a well written character and I want her to be happy.

Finally, and it should come as no surprise, my favorite character of the Newsroom is Lonny Church, who Terry Crews has been slaying each and every week. Since Lonny was introduced he has become the best of each episode. It’s not just the acting either it’s the role he fulfills. Last week when Brian said that Will is lonely, he was spot on. That is why when Will was in the hospital and Mac struggled to answer questions about him and Lonny knew them all, it was such a nice scene. Yes, Lonny is being paid to be with Will, but that hasn’t stopped either of them from forming a relationship as friends, and Lonny is the best kind of friend Will could have.

Again I will reiterate that I enjoy the Newsroom, it is a show that I look forward to each week and I am upset that the first season has ended. I am upset that currently I don’t like any of the main characters because of how selfish and self-absorbed they all are. I also have a bit of a problem with the storytelling. I think if we hadn’t been shown in the first episode that Mac really was in the audience it would have meant that much more when it was revealed in last night’s episode. I think that when you start an episode on a date and then go back Eight days and show the main character hurt it ruins the suspense of will he or will he not be alright. I think the constant reminders of what the date is, also represent one of the biggest insults of the show. I am intelligent enough to keep multiple timelines in check, and I would hope that if you are watching the Newsroom you too are intelligent enough to keep multiple timelines in check without a constant reminder. Each time it tells me the date and I already know the date, I long for the time when in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip that we watched a past and a present Matthew Albie and all we had to distinguish past from present was the fact that he was wearing a hat. It was brilliant and it didn’t treat the viewer like a moron.

In closing if you haven’t seen the Newsroom yet I think you should give it a try and if you don’t like it don’t worry that’s one of the beauties of this country we are all entitled to our opinions. However, if you haven’t seen A Few Good Men then I recommend you go out and watch it now, like right now. That or you can wait until Tuesday December 11th of this year when I will be having a party in honour of its Twenty Year anniversary. Thank you for reading and have a great rest of your day.

Today FOX was finally able to air the special three-part crossover episode of The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad. All I can say is I’m glad that since being sensitive to those who fell victim to a Hurricane last year the week before they were going to initially air the special event they realized what a crossover really is and decided not to credit and hype it up as such. It is a crossover when character’s from one show interact with character’s from another show within the confines of an episode. If it is two shows that are both currently airing new episode usually the first episode of the crossover will take place in one show and the conclusion will take place in the other. When Richie and the Fonz went to that dude ranch with Laverne and Shirley, it was nice that the first part was an episode of Happy Days, and the conclusion was an episode of Laverne and Shirley. Not only was it a great event but it is an excellent example of a crossover episode. When Helen from Wings wound up wanting to kill Frasier Crane after a bad motivational seminar, that was a crossover episode. When Jay Sherman was a Judge at the Springfield Film Festival that was a crossover episode. When the Jetson met the Flinstones that was a crossover. What happened tonight in Stoolbend, VA, Quahog, RI, and Langley Falls, VA was not a crossover, what it was was three shows all produced and created by the same person experiencing a hurricane. Even though each locale was hit by Hurricane Flowzell that did not make it a crossover episode. Also when

 

 

*SPOILERS* 

Peter Griffin and Cleveland Brown show up at the end of American Dad that also does not constitute a crossover.

*END SPOILERS*  

 

 

Still even though it wasn’t a crossover in the traditional sense, it did do something interesting. In all three episodes the family units of each show were trapped within their homes weathering the storm. The beautiful part is that when all three of these shows present essentially the same basic episode it gives me the perfect example of what I have been preaching for years. Finally I will be able to show people that the reason why I enjoy The Cleveland Show and American Dad is that they have developed strong characters to exist within their worlds. Somehow Family Guy missed this crucial element in its Ten Seasons on television. For years I have said that American Dad could easily take any two of its main characters and put them together in a plot and not only will it be believable but enjoyable as well. Though The Cleveland Show is only in its Junior year on television so far it has shown me the same ability, only since it borrows more from Family Guy the show also has the beauty of Cleveland having adventures outside of the family. In coming years I will be happy to see whether or not The Cleveland Show is able to blossom into the perfect mixture of the irreverence of Family Guy with the realistic and grounded characters of American Dad. If only people give it the chance and stop comparing it to Family Guy. Yes tonight FOX’s animation domination rocked us like a hurricane, the end result though was that a long held belief was proven correct. If you get the chance to watch the Hurricane three-parter, I definately recommend it. Just keep in mind that you will be sitting down to watch a Compliment sandwich with the first offering being great, the second  a little disappointing, and the final very fulfilling. Thank You