Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mad Men Round Up!

I know, I know, I picked a hell of a time to slack off and miss posting. At this point there have been two incredible episodes of Mad since I last posted. I’ll probably skip the Game of Thrones talk, but hit the jump for some spoilery stuff about Mad Men.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sunday Night Roundup - April 20, 2014

What a great episode of Mad Men! Was a disturbing scene in Game of Thrones! More stuff after the break...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday Night Roundup - April 13, 2014

Well, this was an eventful Sunday night, wasn’t it? (Mad Men and Game of Thrones spoilers after the jump)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sunday Night Roundup - April 6, 2014

Since all my favorite shows are on Sunday nights now, in lieu of doing a recap or discussion about each, I’m going to start doing a more general post and take it to the comments.

Last night was the long awaited return of Game of Thrones. Viewers must have been clamoring to see it, because HBO Go crashed. It seems obvious to me that this is probably due to people sharing their HBO Go logins and passwords with their friends. I mean if you had HBO, you’d just watch it live on TV, right? It’s not like there’s commercials or anything, and most people can pause and rewind with their regular cable boxes, right? Or am I overestimating the amount of people that have that service? Anyways, it was a solid episode to kick of the season. Something about it reminded me a little of the first season. Perhaps it was the celebration in the air around King’s Landing, that I can only assume is going to lead to something horribly bloody and/or tragic. I enjoyed the episode as a whole, but the only scenes I felt really excited about were those with the Hound and Arya. That scene in the tavern at the end was totally badass. It was good (if not a little chilling) to see Arya take back Needle and kill a couple of dudes that had it coming. Something about the way she slowly slid her blade in that guy’s neck gave me the heebie jeebies.

I also watched the series premiere of Silicon Valley, a new show from Mike Judge. On the surface I might not have much interest in this series, a comedy about a group of young tech upstarts. But I’ve grown to like Mike Judge over the years, and I’ve been a pretty big fan of some of the talent involved, including stand up comedians (and podcast regulars) TJ Miller and Kumail Nanjiani, as well and Freaks and Geeks alum Martin Starr. So I may have gone in with biased intentions, but I enjoyed a lot and will keep watching. I especially thought the lampooning of super progressive tech companies was funny, with their bike meetings and the “voluntary retreats that are really mandatory.” Thomas Middleditch plays a likeable, sympathetic lead, and TJ Miller is great as the weirdo wannabe guru. I’m just hoping Kumail Nanjiani and Martin Starr, who both played the character they always seem to play (but do it so well!) get more screen time in the upcoming episodes.

I plan on watching Veep this evening, so I’ll update the article or post in the comments if there’s anything to say beyond “it’s still a hilarious show about a bunch of assholes that run the country.”

How I Met the Finale

The How I Met Your Mother finale seemed to be a big deal. The things is, I don't watch it. So I asked Madeline to have a conversation with Dylan about their differing viewpoints. Here we go!

Dylan Barnes and I took time out of our really busy lives to watch the How I Met Your Mother finale last Monday.  Special shout out to our pal, Steve, who made us dinner and let us watch his TV and Angela, who really brought it with the dessert selection.

If you don’t know anything about Dylan, the one thing you should know is that he’s a lover of all things sitcom-related.  The dude loves Friends.  Let’s just leave it there.  We won’t go into details of what the finale entailed (you can read about a million recaps on a million websites), but let’s just say we had differing opinions.  So, I present to you Dylan’s top 5 things he LOVED about the finale and my top 5 things I HATED.

Dylan’s Top 5:
1. It had a similar feel to earlier episodes, which is something that these past couple of seasons have been severely lacking.

2. Barney and Robin were a terrible couple. I don't know whether the writers meant for them to be or if it was just poor writing, but either way I like that they got divorced. It made a lot of sense.

3. The actual scene where Ted and The Mother meet, which is the scene that the show has been leading up to since the beginning, was really nice. It didn't feel overly sappy or cheap. It seemed natural. Like I really believe that that scene had already been written years ago.

4. I actually laughed quite a lot. I usually don't like sitcom finales very much. I loved Friends and I liked some of the Office, but their finales were pretty lame. But yeah, this one was actually funny.

5. Now to the actual ending. I loved it. It made the whole series make sense. Ted's story has clearly been about Robin. If The Mother were still alive and with Ted, she probably would have freaked out at that story, and rightfully so. He's telling his kids in vivid detail how much he was in love with his dear friend Robin for 8 years. That would be awful, and it doesn't make any sense. The finale fixes that. Now it's a widower of 6 years who very much loved his wife asking his children for permission to try to move on from their mother. It's kind of been staring us in the face this whole time, which is also true of The Mother's death. Ever since that episode last season where Ted gives that speech to his future wife in his imagination and that episode where he cries at the thought of a mother not being at her daughter's wedding, there's been this idea that something is going to go wrong with her sometime between now and 2030. If it had been some happy ending where he and The Mother grow old together, that would have made those scenes pointless. No, the ending was bittersweet, and the series is all the better for it.

Madeline’s Top (Bottom?) 5:
1. The death scene.  They spent 9 years giving hints about the mother, making us love her, introducing us to her.  And then they kill her off with a two second hospital scene and hardly an explanation.

2. The divorce.  Okay, I get that Robin and Barney were not totally a perfect match, but seriously?  They made us watch a whole season of their wedding weekend and then told us they're getting divorced in the first 20 minutes of the episode?  We just saw them get married!

3. The drift.  So, Robin had been drifting away from the group.  When did she come back into Ted's life?  He's still hung up on her after not seeing her for YEARS?  Technically, him and Tracy would have been together longer than he knew Robin before she drifted.  Blah.

4. The sentimentality.  Usually HIMYM can do pretty well on this front, considering its a sitcom.  But all the sentimental moments fell really flat for me.  I didn't like the song choices either!  The only time they got it right was the actual meeting of the mother.  That was ok.  Really, they could've given us some closure when she died.  

5. The ending.  The ending felt really rushed to me.  Mom's dead, kids are over Ted and he rushes off with the blue french horn.  I get the call back, but I felt the build up was all wrong.

Overall, I think my problem is less with the ending (I mean, I get it) and more that the last few seasons strayed from its original purpose.  The show probably went on too long.  This last season was kind of brutal, not that funny and really got away from the real deal.  I mean, by the time Ted "let Robin go" I was so over it.  How am I supposed to root for them in the end?  She already said she didn't love him!  Now she just changes her mind?  I repeat: blah!  Also, I totally turned the channel (with very limited tv options) yesterday from a rerun because the death thing ruined it for me.
Dylan: I didn't mind the quick death. I think the show prepared us for it. Also, he's telling this story to his kids who were there when she died, so they probably don't really wanna hear too much more about it. I don't think we really need to hear about it either. It wouldn't actually help the story at all, in my opinion. (Madeline: respectfully disagree)

I can admit the ending was a bit rushed. Like I totally understand if this is what turns people off to the finale. It just should have been longer. I hear that there's about 18 minutes extra that will be on the DVD, but we'll have to wait until then. That apparently includes a scene where Robin songs Let's Go The Mall with the wedding band. Robin Sparkles 5, y'all! (This doesn't have anything to do with my opinion of the finale. I'm going strictly off of what was shown to us.)

I also agree that these last couple of seasons have been kind of the worst. But that's why I liked the finale so much. It felt like a return to form. I was totally over the show and was ready for it to be done and disappoint me, but it actually got me to be excited about rewatching the whole thing.

Also, I don't think he's still hung up on Robin. He really did let her go and was devoted to his wife. I think that's why we never hear about any of her flaws and she seems perfect. She was perfect to Ted. Yeah, I think that his feelings are resurfacing after 6 years of being sad and lonely.

I don't remember the songs, which is a bad sign. Although I'm pretty sure that the song at the very end was the same as when he made it rain and got together with Robin the first time. I'm not 100% on that though.

Final Thoughts:
Madeline: What I will say -- I did like that the group wasn't totally cohesive.  I mean, how many "gangs" do you know that are really together for years and years?  It's not likely... people come in and out of your lives all the time, if you mean for them to or not.  And life gets in the way.  I thought that was at least realistic to some degree.

Dylan:I have a fan theory that I made up. The Mother convinces Robin to come to their wedding. I think that she may have already been sick by then and wanted Robin back in Ted's life so that he can move on after she's gone. Just a theory, but it would make sense. She lost the person she loved more than anyone when Max died and learned to move on. She may have wanted Ted to be able to do that same. But yeah, that may be when Robin started hanging out again. Again, we could have used a bit more information, but I still had a good time and felt satisfied. (Madeline: Damn, the mother has one sad life.  Her first love dies and then she does?  Daaaang. Harsh)

Any fans out there?  What do you think?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Season Six Streaming!

Mad Men season six is now available to watch instantly on Netflix! Do it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Season Seven Soon

I've been missing Mad Men since the minute after the last episode of season six aired. Finally, season seven begins April 13, and in the meantime I'll just watch this trailer over and over.  By the looks of things we're getting closer to the end of the 1960s and maybe into the 1970s. Betty's got the bouffant, Pete's going baldish, and of course Don looks exactly the same. I'm tempted to over analyze; I'm sure there's meaning behind the fact that two characters are smoking, some are holding luggage, and Roger Sterling is the only one sitting down. I'm also convinced it's significant that they're flying TWA, the troubled airline that merged with American in 2001.  But this isn't LOST, and trying to theorize at this point (or any point, really, if Breaking Bad taught me anything) is a little silly. As long as I know Stan Rizzo's fringed jacket is back I'll be happy.
Mad Men returns in 19 days. By my count, that means if you haven't watched yet you only have to watch four or five episodes a day until then to get caught up. Shouldn't be a problem.