Saturday, September 12, 2009

'Hung' A Reaction

I just got around to watching the pilot of Hung.
Um, excuse me all you reviewer haters - it's not that bad at all!

It's actually very watchable. In fact, it's kind of fun.

Hung's story line is relatable and farcical at the same time. It's about a man, Ray, who is trying to fix his family and finances. Ray, is a guy who seems to be unable to catch a break, is costing as a teacher/coach and isn't terribly talented. He does however have all the right assessts any lascivious woman would want in a man.

He decides via a series of events stemming from the self-help 'make me a millionaire' convention that he is going to become a man-whore, with the help of this 38 year old poet chick he bangs.

Now, it's not exactly what you'd call a family sitcom, excluding the fact that this does center around a "modern family" (which basically just reads as family dealing with divorce and realistic teenage antics). I can't help but liken it to The US of Tara, which is another show that many don't like because it doesn't feel real that a family would be put through a mother with multiple personality disorder.

I find it oddly heartwarming to watch these shows where parents do ridiculously scarring things to themselves and their children, but then are able to come back looking to their children for forgiveness.

I know we've long left the world of Leave it to Beaver behind. The Happy Days where kids do something wrong and then hang their heads down low and say, "Aw shucks, Mom, Dad, I'm sorry for taking the car." The comfort in these shows was the ideal that no matter what, your parents love you.

Current premium cable shows like Us of Tara and Hung have turned this ideal on it's head and taken it for a spin in the back of a Cadillac. The parents go to the kids and say, "I'm sorry I took the car and had sex with a bunch of tertiary characters."

While it's a disturbing commentary on the way American families have changed, I I can't help but be entertained by these shows. At the end of the episode, they tell us all, "It's ok, you'll always have your family." Which is sweet, until you realize that they're also saying, "...and you got to see some naughty things done, too."

But what the hell, I'm a fan of them. I love seeing people with crazier lives than my own.

True Blood, Look What You've Done to Me

For the past year I had given up on HBO.
It's not that I don't appreciate the quality of programming it's provided in the past.
It's that the more recent programs haven't been extra cable fee worth.

Let's take a look at what I'm saying:

Curb Your Enthusiasm
- This is a wonderfully structured improvisational sitcom with great music, but the storyline is repetitive. Larry David accidentally offends, he won't apologize, hilarity ensues.

Entourage - This show reminds me of the Kayne West song Good Life. It's all about trying to keep those roots while moving on up. In this case, it's about being a movie star and livin' large in LA with fast cars and hot women. It was really fun the first few seasons, crazy parties and loud Ari, but it's not a show I miss watching.

Big Love - I used to love this show, first and second seasons were pretty enthralling. At times this show reflected the power of families working together in criminal activities more than The Sopranos. Yet, the show has somehow meandered about and lost some of it's allure.

Hung- The ads alone for this show turned me off. They took over bathroom stalls in NYC to show how 'sexy fun' this show is going to be. If you have to try to make me think that with intrusive campaigns, I'm not going to believe you.

East Bound and Down - Here's where I get controversial ... I hated Fist First Way. I haven't even tried this show, but I hear I should give it a chance. Perhaps I will overcome my mental block because ....

True Blood - My friend and I rented True Blood one lazy weekend and got hooked. It's hard not to fall for this fast paced thrilling story. It's also easy to see why some people are so easily turned off by it. The characters, in the beginning of the first season especially, are in desperate need for southern dialect couches. Each episode ends on an edge of your seat cliff hanger though, that makes you want to know what happens next to these characters you unexpectedly fall for again and again. By the third episode we were cheering the sounds of the opening sequence. We want bad things to be done to us you crooner.

The second season was just starting the weekend we finished the first season. This is when I realized we had gone mad for True Blood. My friend and I started seeking out the new episodes - on the net, at friends houses. We'd been doing pretty good catching up here and there with the season, until this weekend rolled around.

The finale occurs tomorrow night and we began trying to figure out how we could get HBO. "Maybe you could go out and meet a dude with HBO..."
No! I won't pimp myself!
"Maybe we could chip in and get a hotel room..."
Is it really worth $50 each?
Then, I came to ridiculously simple epiphany - I can just get HBO. For like $12 more bucks a month I'll get it just so we can see the end of this saga.

So, this morning, I called up and got the channels and I'm re-watching the season with bated breath waiting for tomorrow.
Perhaps I'll try these other shows again, or for the first time, to see if they'll change my mind. Who knows? They might be a fun way to pass the time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Say Goodbye to Summer

There are a lot of people who say summer is a slow season for television, and to those people I say,
"Get cable."

This summer there was some of the best TV going on, I hope you got in on it. If not, here's what you should catch up on this Labor Day weekend.

Nurse Jackie -I'm going to be honest here, I'm a little biased because the character lives near by me in Queens. There's a neighborly comradery I feel with this over-worked, drug-addicted, nurse. Edie Falco is wonderful, as always, but the supporting cast also shines. After viewing the entire season I think what makes this such a gem is it's ability to show chaos as a way of coping. Also, once you see the entire season, please note the call back of the last season of the season to the first scene of the season. A lovely call back.

Rescue Me - If you gave up on this show after the dark seasons that followed the first, I understand. But I insist you come back and give this season a try. The humor is back and Tommy Gaven is more responsible for his actions. The season finale didn't disappoint and left me, as always wanting more of this hilarious dark comedy.

True Blood - I cannot believe how addicted I am to this show. It's absolutely ridiculous, full of plot wholes, with eccentric characters and porn-like sex scenes. With all this said, the story line is still full of Alan Ball goodness with honest dialogue and beautiful choices for directors and cinematography. If you start this show, be forewarned, you will have a hard time stopping.

Weeds - Oh! The madness that is Nancy Botwin's life didn't get any easier this year, even though she did settle down, get married and have a baby. Her children, and career choices are still spinning out of her control, and while she doesn't have as much interaction with her friends: Ceila, Doug, and Dean their B-story was a little more zany and fun this season because of it. Overall, it wasn't the best season, but there were some fantastic episodes. If you ever had a problem with how Nancy seems to get away with everything unharmed, this season has retributions that are worth a second-go for this show and you.

Rachel Zoe Project - I always have to name one awful reality show, and this one is it. I think my absolute favorite part of this show, is that the things that Rachel flips out are almost always absurd life problems that you would never even consider as you're cooking up your tuna and pasta recession special. Oh no! I have a thousand dresses, but not the right one! Life is tough for you Rachel. Go buy some more turquoise and feel better... and remember food is for suckers. (They NEVER eat on that show.)

So, those are my favorites from this summer. What I'm looking forward to this fall:

  • Community
  • Modern Family
  • The Good Wife
  • Dexter
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • House
What did you love this summer? What are you jonesin' for this fall?
Leave a comment below!