Talking Television and Values.

Archive for December, 2006

Winter Preview: George Lopez

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 28, 2006

This may be a little different type of preview, because George Lopez has been on the air for five seasons now. And I am honestly sorry that I haven’t been watching until now.

Last Wednesday, ABC aired 3 almost-back-to-back episodes of past Christmas specials of George Lopez, and I decided that I was going to watch them all. I figured it would give me a good sampling (although Christmas flavored) of this show.

For the most part, this is the family comedy that you have heard me aching about in the past. While watching these three episodes, there were no sexual references accept in regards to between Lopez and his wife (Contance Marie), and some about their teenage daughter, Carmon (Masiela Lusha) and her boyfriend. The boyfriend references were only in regards to kissing, and it was a very humorous reflection of a father’s concern for his daughter.

To a limited extent George Lopez is the Home Improvement of our day. The focus here is on the whole family. It is not limited to just the parents, as is the case in According to Jim and Two and a Half Men, which only have limited interludes with the children.

My only complaint about this show is that the father is still portrayed as a bumbling idiot. He is always the character that needs fixing. This is too common of a theme in family comedies, but if it is the only politically correct way to portray decent families on TV, then I might have to settle.

Regardless of the inaccurate portrayal of fathers. This is a great family oriented, values based program, that for the most part will be something that I can watch with my children. Discussions of right and wrong will be appropriate and helpful. It is entertaining; Lopez does a great job and his family cast is well selected.

I will be watching George Lopez starting January 24. And I feel that I will enjoy this show and keep kicking myself for having missed it the past years.

Posted in Comedy, George Lopez, Previews, Television, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

Winter Preview: Knights of Prosperity

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 20, 2006

Are you tired of the daily grind? Does your cube farm make you feel like a prodded cattle who has no choice? Are you tired of schlepping toilets for a living? Have you just wanted to get out of the nine to five hustle and live the high life? Most of us have. Most of us would love to be liberated from our dead-end jobs.

However, have you ever wanted out so bad that you would be willing to commit grand larceny? No I didn’t think so. Well according to ABC’s newest comedy, the Knights of Prosperity, there are some who might.

Eugene Gurkin (Donal Logue) is a late night janitor who decides that it is his time our of the dead end life. He concocts a scheme to raid Mick Jaggar’s home and steal some of his possessions. However, misery loves company, so he recruits a gang to help him out.

Francis “Squatch” Squacieri (Lenny Venito) is Eugene’s coworker. He joins the crew in hopes to provide his family with a better life. Oh how touching, he loves his family enough to face 25 years in jail for grand larceny.

Esperanza Villalobos (Sofía Vergara) is a waitress in Queens who joins the gang so that she can get away from all bad relationships she has been in. However, she might find it easier to afford a better life and maybe pay for an education if she wasn’t so busy wearing designer clothes. Oh yeah, she’s supposed to be the sexy lady that gets us guys to watch.

Rockefeller Butts (Kevin Michael Richardson) is the heavy in the operation. And I don’t mean his weight. He is probably the only many who as ever handled a gun before the first episode. He really has no motivation for participating. I think they enlisted him because he can sing.

Also, there is perhaps the worst named character Louis Plunk (Josh Grisetti) who plays the role of the nerd. I thought nerds were the rich people in our era. Something must have happened over the Christmas break.

Finally, we come to the moral backbone of the people mob, Gourishankar “Gary” Subramaniam (Maz Jobrani). Gary is an ex-lawyer brought to cab driver who had to be coaxed into the group. I suspect that he will play somewhat of the level headed keep these guys in line role. Being that he is a lawyer though is morals don’t extend to the point that keeps him from grand larceny.

While I make fun of the overly clichéd nature of this show, I am being a cliche my self. It is predictable that I would be bothered by this show. However, I have to honestly say, I think this show will probably be a hit.

In the spirit of the Office and My Name of Earl, cliché is working for television. And the slap stick nature of this show could add to it. However, as with most comedies of today, I won’t be watching it. Sorry, I just can’t get past the Larceny aspect of this show.

Where have all the good comedies gone?

Posted in Comedy, Previews, Television, The Knights of Prosperity, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

I Love When My Guy Wins

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 18, 2006

It is going to sound a little unbelievable when I write that I wanted Yul to win from the beginning. But I can honestly say that after the first couple of episodes of Survivor I was cheering for Yul.

Yul was honest with the Jury about his having manipulated people and that he was playing people both on and off of the jury. He said it perfectly. If it was outside of this game, HE would have interacted with the contestants differently. Everyone came to the game knowing what it was about, and they accepted that.

That is what won him the game.

Ozzy was a great contender. Ozzy would have deserved the win too. I would have been happy to see him play again; I look forward to seeing him on a future all-star episode.

While Yul admitted to playing with some less than stellar ethics, I still feel that they both play with integrity. They stayed true to their tribe. While, it sort of made for a boring finale, you still were excited to see them win, because in the face of trial they stood with their team.

CBS’s attempt to make the final tribal council more exciting by adding three people to be voted for was stupid. Even if it had been three different players (i.e., Adam, Parvati, and Candice), there would have only been two votes cast.

I was trying to figure out why they were having 9 members on the jury. I actually thought that maybe they were going to allow the final two contestant to eliminate two members from the Jury, without know what their vote would be. That way they might eliminate someone who would have voted for them, but they wouldn’t know.

However, they added two extra jurors because they were adding a third contestant. That was a dumb move. Of course one person was going to be a no vote. It did lead to the two best players getting to the end. But it really took out another important element of the game and that was staying true to your team. I really would have liked to see how Yul, Becky, and Ozzy played it out for final two.

I didn’t like this final tribal council. It really begged for a lot. However, I loved the season in general. But I always love the season when my favorite wins.

Posted in Reality TV, Survivor, Television, TV, Unscripted Dramas | Leave a Comment »

The Unit Pushes Macro Values, Respects Micro

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 13, 2006

As I contemplate the many things that come to play in our lives, I am often struck by the difference between macro-level ideas and micro-level ideas. The macro plays into things involving the world and things larger than us. Macro things are often beyond most of our controls.

It is the micro-level that comes to play in most of our lives. The micro deals with how we interact with our neighbor, co-worker, and friends. When it comes to values, I am often focused on the micro-world, not the macro. This is because I believe that the micro will ultimately lead to a better macro.

I have been watching The Unit this season with some reservations about its message on values. It wasn’t until last night’s episode that I finally realized the macro verses micro aspects of values that this show portrays.

On the macro level, ask yourself this question, “What would you do to protect your country?” Would you kill another man in cold blood? Would you cheat on your spouse? Would you lie? The answers may be different for each individual reading this on each of these questions and the many others that The Unit asks. However, on the micro-level the answers are probably more likely the same.

In this episode, we see how the micro-level values come to play in Jonas’ life. He is at a family party for his father who earned the Silver Star Medal, and while there he finds out that his nephew is abusing his wife. He learns that his nephew thinks that it is okay because he has been in combat and his wife just doesn’t understand.

However, Jonas Blane (Dennis Haybert) explains to him through his father’s story as a black soldier in a biased world. Father Blane kept his cool when defending his son when a couple of white men wanted to kill the both of them. He taught his nephew a valuable micro-level lesson. No matter how bad you may have had it in life; you treat others, especially those you love, with respect.

Now do I agree with Jonas’ having sent his niece-in-law back home with a man who abuses her. No, I don’t. However, he did giver he specific instructions to leave him if he disrespects her, and to call the police if he beats her again. That was right and good.

This isn’t also to say that macro-level values aren’t important to me. Nor do I agree with many of the macro-value decisions that are made in this show. I think that we should act globally the same way that we act locally. I am just more willing to forgive to a certain extent on the macro-level infractions.

I will continue to watch The Unit. However, I am afraid that it might push me over the edge as it keeps pushing macro-level values.

Posted in Drama, Television, The Unit, TV | Leave a Comment »

James and Tyler Win the Amazing Race

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 11, 2006

Well, it was almost predictable. James and Tyler won The Amazing race. I say almost predictable, because honestly having watched the race, they were perhaps one of the worst teams to come out on top.

I was truly upset to see that Lyn and Karlyn really ended up with the bad luck of the draw. While perhaps they weren’t the best team. I feel that they put more into this race than any other team. More than James and Tyler; more than Erwin and Godwin; more than even David and Mary. For that I would have loved to see them win the race.

I guess the only saving aspect of the finale is that Rob and Kimberly did not win. Sorry, but I never really liked them. They weren’t as detestable and I thought before the race started, but they were likable either.

I also missed the layover aspect that they have had in past races. Usually, they send them to some place remote and have them spend the night in some cabin or a tent, before they do the final stretch. Not really a pit stop, but they have to stay there for at least 8 or 12 hours.

Also, this wasn’t a two hour finale. I missed that. I guess maybe the spent more time on episodes airs over the weeks, but I liked the 2 hour finale.

Is this a sign of the demise of The Amazing Race? I sure hope not. However, I think it might be a sign that this season just wasn’t as good. The players weren’t as interesting. David and Mary had America’s heart, but there really was not one to hate (maybe Peter and Sarah, but there weren’t like Jonathan and Victoria from Season 6).

So, the biggest news is that the next Amazing Race will be an All-Star episode. While there is much rumor on the Web about who will star in this episode. Here is my wish list for the All-Star Edition (these are listed in order of who I would pick first):

1 – Kevin and Drew – They made the first season. I don’t think I would be much of a fan of The Amazing Race if they hadn’t been in the first season.

2 – Chip and Kim – I loved them for all of season 5, and I still love them. If there has to be past winners (which I don’t agree with), then I want Chip and Kim back on the show.

3 – David and Mary – I know I will be in trouble for putting them as number 3 and not number 1 on my list, but I didn’t like them as much as the previous two. I would hope that they would do better this time around.

4 – BJ and Tyler – The is my second favorite of all the teams that I have won the race. They are a very close second.

5 – Ron and Kelly – They made it to the final three in Season 7, and I had hoped that they would go all the way. This would be a great chance for them to try again.

6 – David and Lori – I was honestly shocked at how well they did in Season 9. I just thought that they were a cute nerdy couple, that I could relate with. I would hope they did well this season too.

7 – Linda and Karen – Before Lyn and Karlyn this was the longest lasting all female team, and I would love to see them race again. If they weren’t chosen I would actually like to see Charla and Mirna race again.

8 – Millie and Chuck – They were great competitors, and I felt that they were good representatives of the Christian faith. I just hope that the production staff doesn’t over emphasize their 12-year virginity too much like they did in Season 4.

9 – Marion and DJ – I loved this unpopular family. I thought that although they argued a lot, they really loved each other, and that endeared me to them. Put the mom and oldest son on again, just to make it fun. If this mom and son duo doesn’t make it I wouldn’t mind seeing Gus and Hera on again, more because I like Gus, he just seemed genuine.

10 – Lori and Bolo – These two are kind of a wild card. I thought that they added some entertainment value that would be fun to watch again. However, I wouldn’t be too upset if they didn’t get on.

11 – Danny and Oswald You know they are going to choose at least one gay couple, and these two would have to be my favorite. But I won’t be cheering them on.

That’s my picks. I tried to get some from all past seasons, but season three just lacked in any body I wanted to see race again. Next is my list of people I don’t want to see race again (these are in order of least favorite):

1 – Rob and Amber – I hated them in survivor, I hated them in season 7. These are just two people who don’t need any more air time.

2 – Jonathan and Victoria – It’s so obvious, I don’t think I will even mention it.

3 – Peter and Sarah – Peter just bugged me, and Sarah didn’t have much redeeming value either. And you didn’t like to hate them either.

4 – Adam and Rebecca – Rebecca was fine, but Adam just needs to grow up.

5 – Marshall and Lance – The first team to quit the Amazing Race doesn’t deserve a second chance.

So, what are you thoughts on an All-Star edition of the Amazing Race? What are you thoughts on my picks? I am sure to agree with some, but why do you disagree on others?

Posted in All-star, Reality TV, TAR, Television, The Amazing Race, TV, Unscripted Dramas | Leave a Comment »

How Do You Stop an Exploding Man?

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 5, 2006

Last night was the last episode of Heroes this year; we won’t see another new episode until January 1. I think I may go through some withdrawals. But at least they are providing replays of all 11 episodes on the NBC website.

In this episode we learn (or at least it is posed) that Peter Petrelli is the cause of the nuclear explosion that Hiro saw while searching out Isaac Mendez, in the future. And the ultimate new question is “how do you stop an exploding man?”

My suspicion is that when Peter is exposed to too many “heroes” in a short time period that he is over worked. In this and last week’s episode, it appeared that Peter met with Sylar, Claire, Matt, and Nathan all within about a 24-hour period. These exposures lead to exhaustion. Then, as we saw in the final scene, ultimately what could happen is that he explodes.

So, what does this mean? Does this lead to further extending the “meeting” of our “heroes?” I hope not. The episodes that I have really enjoyed are the one where our heroes meet and understand that they are part of a group.

Does this mean the Peter will not be their leader? Well, it is apparent that the leader is going to be either Peter or Hiro. I am leaning more towards Peter, but I won’t be bothered by Hiro’s leadership either.

What does saving the cheerleader (which I am not convinced they did; Jackie did die) have to do with preventing this explosion? Because it still appears that Peter will explode in the end.

I liked this episode, but it sure seems that the chains of thought involved are starting to get too intense. Perhaps, this is the same stage that Lost was at during their development. However, I am getting a little confused.

Among the things that I really liked about this episode is that Isaac is finally clean. And he learns to paint the future while sober. I wonder if he will always need a canvas to do so though? We learn that Niki might finally overtake Jessica. Will she ever figure out that she too has the same strength as Jessica?

I didn’t like that Claire’s dad isn’t a good guy. However, I honestly never believed that he was. It seems to me that even Eden figured that out. Too bad that she wasn’t able to get away from him. However, I wasn’t a big fan of Eden to begin with.

Anyway, this was another good episode. More questions then answers in this one, but the questions are needed to keep the show going. They just need to learn something from Lost and be sure to keep us fed with some good answers or resolutions.

Posted in Drama, Heroes, Television, TV | Leave a Comment »

Survivor’s Jonathan Crazy or Genius?

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 1, 2006

If there is any player that reminds me more of Richard Hatch than any other player in Survivor history, it is Jonathan Penner. He has really mastered the ability to annoy his fellow contestants and yet manage to manipulate the game every week where he is not voted out.

Of course, he didn’t play exactly like Hatch. But he seems to be more in control of the game than people realize. He is very effectively outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting the other contestants.

In the past couple of weeks, Jonathan managed to switch to another tribe (they called it mutiny) and escape elimination during at least two tribal council’s where one would have thought that the mutiny would be grounds for getting rid of him.

Then when the tribes merge, Jonathan flops back to his original tribe, because he finds out that Yul Kwon has the individual immunity idol from exile island. You would think that this would further remove any trust from any of the other players.

This episode, Jonathan takes a very overly confident attitude where he managed to offend just about everyone on the island. This put a huge target on Jonathan’s back. However, I think this target is more inviting to Yul, and some other players because, they think his offense will win him the game.

I think they are wrong. If Jonathan makes it to the final two, then he will win. No matter whom he goes up against. In this game there is more respect for the outwitting than there is for outlasting or outplaying.

My prediction is that the final two will be Yul and Jonathan. However, I think it will be Yul’s mistake. If Yul picked anyone else accept for maybe Adam then he would win. Adam might have a chance against yul, because he has managed to outplay the other’s too.

Granted this is all based on the assumption that Yul wins the final immunity challenge. But I think he will probably do that too.

Honestly, survivor this season has been better than The Amazing Race. That is a hard thing for me to say. But it is the truth.

Posted in Reality TV, Survivor, Television, TV, Unscripted Dramas | Leave a Comment »