Is Television Being Dumbed Down?

big-tv-6e8f9ab6

As we recover from the 2016 Election and face the impending doom that is 2017-2020, I start to think about television.  Is television going to be dumbed down?  I just heard all of you say that television is already stupid. Thank you for that.  Yes, television, in general, is dumb. It was designed to entertain us after all.  We are a nation that watches so many reality shows, comedy news shows and cartoon sitcoms with incredibly dirty jokes.  So, yes, one could say, television is already dumb.

However, we have had many shows that are challenging, witty and eloquent grace our screens.  Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Stranger Things, Transparent, The Americans, Orphan Black (just to name a few) have had enormous and cult followings since their premieres. These shows and much more think the American public is smarter than we even realize.

After this election I have to wonder, will television be dumbed down again?

I noticed an article on the Slate website that talks about how CBS new comedies weren’t well received. The network appeals to the older more conservative viewer. These comedies are all, “…fronted by white men, fashioned as “traditional” catnip for audiences resistant to broader cultural shifts.”.  Is this the future of American television?  Are we in for more shows that only speak to one part of the population? Does that mean television will get even dumber?

Maybe. Maybe not.  Currently, ABC and CW (Yes, a CBS channel technically), have shows on the air that show the American I am aware of. We aren’t all white. A good amount of people is other nationalities and countries.  Shows that are popular and show that from these two stations are Jane the Virgin, Fresh off the Boat, Black-ish and The Goldberg’s. These shows talk about different cultures through comedy and drama. These shows are popular and well received for a reason.  They show a better representation of America.  Believe it or not, not everyone is white, are Christin and share the same cultural traditions you do.  Shocking. So shocking. (Sarcasm alert)

We need these types of shows to broaden horizons of people stuck in a rut. Learning and respecting other cultures isn’t bad. Your white card won’t be revoked if you respect another culture. You might even like what you hear and see.

Will we be seeing a Larry the Cable Guy Show soon? More than likely. I bet you it will be on after Kevin Can Wait on CBS and do well. Will I be watching? No. I will be hoping that this upcoming regime will make creators are and inclusive.  Let Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu lead the way.

What do you think? Do you think television will be dumbed down even more or do you think television will start to diversify even more? What about Cable shows? Tell me in the comments below.

Until next time.

Advertisements

I Miss Theme Songs. Do You?

I miss television theme songs.  I miss hearing a song on the radio and thinking of the television show it is attached to. It is almost like it is instant marketing.  However, since a different type of marketing is taking over network television (longer and more frequent commercial breaks for instance), the theme song has been phased out.  Most shows just use a title card with some instrumental music, and we move on with our story.  For dramas that are just fine but for a comedy that is 30 minutes (20 minutes with commercials), the theme song is missed.

This made me think of my favorite theme songs that I still hum today.  Let me start by saying there are so many that are obvious. Like Friends, One Tree Hill or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Alright, the last two are generational but still well known.

Here are my top three (not really talked about) favorite theme songs.

Laverne and Shirley (1976-1983)

showposter

Laverne and Shirley was a sitcom that ran on ABC from 1976 to 1983.  The show itself is a spinoff of Happy Days and is set in 1958 and goes into the 60s.  It was produced by Gary Marshall and stars Penny Marshall (Laverne) and Cindy Williams (Shirley).  It follows two best friends that live together and try to make something of their lives.  Yes, the plot is that simple. This theme song is a classic. I remember being obsessed with this show when I first watched it on Nick at Nite as a kid.  I wanted to be like Laverne, but I was a Shirley.

Anyway, the song, “Making Our Dreams Come True” by Cyndi Grecco perfectly describes the main point of the show.  It is about two people who are trying to make their dreams come true while living and working in a depressed area in lower middle class.  The juxtaposition of having a happy song about following dreams and watching the main characters work in a dusty dark factory is striking. The show became a hit, and so did the theme song. The song peaked at #25 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated indeed.

Scarecrow and Mrs. King (1983-1987)

scarecrow08m

Scarecrow and Mrs. King is a dramedy that aired on CBS from 1983 to 1987.  The show stars Kate Jackson (Amanda King) and Bruce Boxleitner (Lee Stetson) as a divorced housewife/mother and an agent (he doesn’t like the word spy).  They met by accident (or fate) at a train station and learn to work with each other. Yes, it is a classic partner/romance show.  I plan to have a longer post all about this show since it is very close to my heart.

This theme song is an instrumental but one to remember. It has a different sound for each character (lighter for housewife Amanda and more dramatic for Agent Lee Stetson) and then comes together when the characters met. It is frantic, exciting and sweet which perfectly describes this show.  It gets you ready for what adventures are to come (also if Lee and Amanda will finally kiss).  It is a great theme for a great show.

Blossom (1990-1995)

mv5bmtqwnja4njuxmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdmwotiwmje-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_

Blossom is a teen sitcom on NBC. It had an exclusive pilot preview in 1990 and showed up as a mid-season replacement in 1991.  It continued to air till 1995.  The show follows Blossom who lives with her father and two brothers.  Her mother had left the family, and now they are left to pick up the pieces. Which includes a father who is frequently between musician gigs, a brother who is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict, and then a brother who is a typical dumb teenager (Whoa!).  Like the other teen shows of its time, it has lessons in each episode that Blossom learns and then talks about in her video diary.  I ate it up as a young kid in reruns on Saturday mornings.

The show has different openings, but the song stays the same.  “My Opinionation” by Mike Post and Steve Geyer has a beat and lyrics that are poppy and fun which is a lot like the character. As Blossom dances to the song she changes her outfit to match the person she is dancing with. Her dad is a traditional musician, so she is a Broadway dancer, with her dumb brother she is wearing the newest style (90s style mind you) and for the recovering alcoholic brother, she is in a ballerina outfit since he considers her the baby of the family. In this version, she dances with her best friend, Six, and she is dressed as herself. The show follows that great 90s formula of problem/joke/solution. Things are bad, but the sun will surely shine. It is a cute show and a nice time capsule of early 90s style/culture.

These shows are great and so are their theme songs.  There are so many more theme songs out there that deserve some love and someday I will get to that.  For now, please check out these shows and enjoy the songs that accompany them.

Tell me about some theme songs that you miss below!

Until next time.

Getting the Warm and Fuzzies: Favorite Christmas Songs for 2016

I love this time of year.  One of my favorite things is Christmas and everything that comes with this holiday.  The family traditions, the trees (don’t judge my family goes all out) and the baking. Most of all I love the music.  Like everyone else I enjoy the classic standards but every so often a new song comes along and grabs my heart.  These songs didn’t hit it big like Mariah Carey’s song, “All I Want for Christmas is You” but they still find their way into my heart every December (November and July).

So, without further ado, here are my top four favorite newer Christmas songs.

Cold December Night by Michael Buble

519b9CmpTYL._SY300_QL70_.jpg

This song was written by Michael Buble, Alan Chang, and Bob Rock and shows up on his 2011 Christmas album.  Mixed in among the standards and reimagining of standards is this little unassuming song.

Why do I like it so much? I like to compare the song to the end of an exquisite romantic comedy.  It is sweet, heartwarming and the melody and lyrics make you want to listen to the song more than once.  It is a song asking for what brought them joy as kids (family traditions, food, and presents) but they also want love (aww…how sappy).  It is quite sweet and hard for me to describe. Every time this song comes up at random, it is like I just sat by the fire with some hot chocolate.

Favorite Lines

So please just fall in love with me, this Christmas
There’s nothing else that I will need, this Christmas
Won’t be wrapped under a tree, I want something that lasts forever, so kiss me on this cold December night

Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song) by Kelly Clarkson

hqdefault

This song was written by Kelly Clarkson, Ashley Arrison and Aben Eubanks for her 2013 Wrapped in Red Christmas album.  This song was written for her fiancée (now husband) Brandon.  It describes their first Christmas together and what it meant to her.  Kelly Clarkson describes the song as, “…a lighter fare, referring to it as her holiday life after meeting him.”

The first time I heard this song I felt like I was intruding on a moment I wasn’t supposed to hear or even feel.  You can feel the emotion behind this song and picture these two sharing these moments she writes about.  The 50-piece chamber orchestra (conducted by Joseph Trapanese) gives it a rich feel, almost like it’s a musical number in a Broadway show.  It feels like a classic Christmas song that you can listen to for years to come.

Favorite Lines

This Christmas Eve
I became We
Don’t wake me please
From this winter dream

Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg

same_old_lang_syne_-_dan_fogelberg

Ok. I’m cheating with this one. This hasn’t come out recently. In fact, it was released in 1981 on the album The Innocent Age.  This song written and sung by Dan Fogelberg is about two former flames that happen to meet up in a store on Christmas Eve.  The song only made it to number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts but is now played frequently during the Christmas season.

Ok, the first time I heard this song I was driving up to Madison to take my marketing communications final, five years ago.  The dreary day matched this song perfectly, and I became obsessed. I swear I have never heard this song before that moment.  Since I’m a sucker for story songs, I got caught up in the story of two former lovers awkwardly reconnecting for a few hours on Christmas Eve, never to meet up again.  It is bittersweet and melodic.  You can’t help but wonder why they didn’t decide to stay in touch after meeting back up especially when the woman relieved she wasn’t in love with her husband.  It is the perfect chaser after the two super sweet songs I described before.  Listening to this song is like reading your favorite bittersweet book. You get caught up in the story and hope beyond hope that the ending will change, but it never does.  Still, you listen again and again.

Favorite Lines

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how

Those are my new favorite Christmas songs.  Have any new Christmas songs grabbed your attention recently or do you stick to the classics? Tell me below.

For your enjoyment, I created a Spotify playlist of the three songs above and other songs I’m obsessed with this year. Please enjoy!

Spotify:user:amandajane71822:playlist:5fjEmUe8Z7fgKEIoyydRzz

Until next time.

Life is Short. Talk Fast. (A Review of Gilmore Girls Revival)

gilmore-girls-befa2363-6f7b-4a68-a37f-17e99fd3513c

I remember seeing the commercials for this show.  I was wary since it looked a bit hokey. A show about a single mom and her daughter? Ok, WB, I guess my teenager self will be excited by this.  Little did I know I would stick with this show till the bitter end of seven years.  Since the announcement of the revival, I’ve been cautious. I even wrote a blog entry on why I was so careful. After I had been Black Friday shopping, I sat down to watch the show.

Here are my likes and dislikes. Enjoy.

Likes

Townspeople 

grid-cell-32620-1439935448-8

This is what makes Gilmore Girls what it is. The townspeople of Stars Hollow are better than ever.  They still live in their worlds and enjoy doing so. Whenever Rory and Lorelai were too much, the show would cut to a town meeting that lifted my spirits.  Much like in the original series, I feel like the heart of the Stars Hollow set was these people.

Emily 

gilmore-girls-emily-return-640x427

Emily’s journey was great to watch. She made mistakes, tried new things and even kept the same maid (and her family) for a whole year.  Emily Gilmore has always been my favorite character. She is a survivor and will continue to survive regardless what is thrown at her.

Rory’s Journey

rory-gilmore-dean

Nothing made me happier than to see Rory Gilmore struggle. No, I’m not a masochist nor do I hate Rory. Not even close. I just liked to see a character that normally had things come easier to her struggle a bit. As someone who has struggled with school and then with life (don’t we all), I was comforting to see that Rory was in the same boat. Though, Rory, I feel like you screwed up when you didn’t parlay that gig following future President Obama into something bigger. Same for the New Yorker article.  Anyway, I relate to her on so many in this special.  I feel like a lot of viewers that grew up with Rory could relate.

Cinematography 

img

This special made Stars Hollow look gorgeous. It felt cinematic and loved.  You could tell the town was loved and was shown in its best light at all times.  By the way, since when has Stars Hollow ever had a pool? It looked like someone’s backyard.

Dislikes

Logan/Rory/Jess aka Four Little Words

img_6435

Alright. Here is my take on this stupidity.  Logan is not Christopher. Jess is not Luke. Stop with the comparisons. Logan is someone who, in the past, did give up his family for Rory. He grew from this annoying frat boy that would toe the family line to someone who rejected what was expected and became a loving, smart man.  Jess went from a self-sabotaging angry boy (this is me being nice. I hated Jess as a teenager, and I’m indifferent to him now as an adult) to a someone who is calmer and learned to love himself (enough to improve on certain aspects of his personality).

Jess wouldn’t stick around in the past.  He wouldn’t keep pining over a girl he dated at a very low point in his life.  Just like Logan wouldn’t let Rory raise their child alone.  It wasn’t a fling. They lived together. He proposed to her.  I feel like all three characters are losers in this storyline. So, knock it off Team Jess and Team Logan fans. No one won. We all look dumb. I also think this is what happens when the creator (Amy Sherman-Palladino) doesn’t watch the last season. Characterizations are all off because of it.

All these characters, separately, are great.  Putting them into these roles just limits their possibilities for real development. I hated it and those four little words negated all the good the special built up through the previous  episodes.

Summer (Just Summer.)

bal-gilmore-girls-a-year-in-the-life-recap-summer-20161126

Man. That Summer episode was terrible in general.  The musical sequence (while it started funny) went on forever.  We get it, Daniel Palladino. You have a bone to pick with the current state of Broadway.  Moving on.  Rory taking over the Stars Hollow Gazette and her lack of success was stupid. Rory, who has experience running a paper at Chilton and Yale, couldn’t get this local newspaper up and running. It wasn’t realistic. I don’t understand the body shaming either at the pool. It wasn’t funny. Why were kids being used as mini helpers? There was no explanation and it was odd. The whole episode was a waste of everyone’s time. You can even argue that you could skip it and be ok.

Not a bad effort by a show that is still growing a fan base through Netflix and cable television reruns.  I’m ready to move on from this show, but my guess is people want more.  If it happens and we get another ‘Year in the Life’ I will wait to see if Rory will break the cycle after all. Until next time, enjoy your binge watching.

The Fanfiction Business

download

Welcome back to the randomness!

Fanfiction: Big Business or Just Plain Creepy.

I am not the first person to write about this topic. Just from a general Google search, I found at least 100 popular articles on the subject. I could talk about this like they did, but I am going to speak from experience and my feelings on the topic.

Fanfiction, as the new publishing frontier, freaks me out.

I came to this scientific opinion, after looking at this topic from writers, reader and marketing point of a writer.

Writer’s Point of View

I do not know if anyone out there in the void knows this, but I like to write. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Short stories. Abandoned novels. For fun. For writing classes. Now I am attached to one idea I have been working on since high school. An original idea.

Before that, I would write fanfiction. Yes, if you go looking you might find some of my work on fanfiction.net. You know the old person place to post fanfiction. Some of my earliest writings were focused around television shows or books. In fact, I wrote a full Stephanie Tanner novelization. If you are too young, back in the heyday of Full House, there were novelizations of the adventures of Stephanie and Michelle Tanner. I read enough novels to recreate my own. I guess you can say it was my first fanfiction. Stop laughing. It’s not funny. Ok, it is a little funny.

From a writer’s standpoint, I am perfectly fine with fanfiction. I think it is an excellent way to learn character development, plot structure and a universe that is already situated and waiting for new stories.  I’m a huge fan of using that to practice. When writers start changing names and selling their stories, I’m not a huge fan anymore. All they did was take that structured universe created by someone else, change the names and make money. That just seems lazy.

 Create your own universe. Create your own characters. Do not take from others. If I had someone, just use my characters, my universe and make money off it? I would not be happy as an author. Use my characters for practice not to make money off my hard work.

Sadly, I would not have any control. According to one article I read, fanfiction can exist because, under U.S. copyright law, fanfiction could be transforming the original work, which makes it legal to sell and profit.

This just does not apply to fictional worlds. There is a One Direction fanfiction story being published by Simon & Schuster. This fanfiction is not part of a fictionalized world. We are talking about real people. The fact that this story was being published and the author is making money off real human beings leaves me unsettled, to say the least. 

Reader’s Point of View

I am a reader of fanfiction. Not as much as when I was, a high schooler but I still gravitate towards fanfiction now if a story seems incomplete for me. So many fanfiction writers out are amazing. Some are even better than the original authors are (sorry. it’s true).  Looking at it that way, having those writers work published can only give us some good storytelling. However, for every good author, there are ten bad ones (EL James ring a bell?).

Getting attention to authors that typically would be pushed out or ignored through traditional publishing methods is a huge plus. Especially for us readers that are starving for some good storytelling. As a reader, it might be needed so that we have something to read that is not horrible.

Marketing Point of View

From a marketing point of view, publishing an average joes fanfiction makes the publishing world less elusive and attainable. Yes, even you, random writer on the internet, can become a multi-millionaire like EL James. Yeah. Not going to happen (she was an outlier) but publishing that fanfiction gives off an air that publishing houses are looking past traditional methods. Which makes them look more approachable.

In fact, in a Washington Post article Jennifer Bergstrom, vice president and publisher of Gallery Books has said, “fanfiction has absolutely become part of the fiber of what we publish…this is changing at a time when traditional publishing needs it most.”

It does make sense that publishing houses are looking beyond traditional methods. Especially since most people go looking for novels on the internet, whether it be through self-publishing or fictionpress.com, an offshoot of fanfiction.net (Old writings of mine might be on there too).  Grabbing these writers and sharing in the profit before they self-publish makes sense.

It is also good public relations. Talking about where this writer was found, what the original fanfiction was about and how this particular author became famous in the internet world. It is a lot more interesting to sell that type of author than the traditional kind they came to the publishing house through conventional methods.

Final Thoughts

I guess fanfiction being published is good for readers and the publishing houses. I guess the authors or subjects of these fanfictions are the ones who lose. I feel like an identity was stolen. Fanfiction is okay to write when practicing or new to the world of writing. You are supposed to grow from that and start writing and creating your own worlds. Not make money off your favorite authors! It is creepy and annoys me to no end.

Fanfiction is a tricky subject. Everyone has an opinion on it. What’s yours? Share your views below or shoot over a tweet. I love to hear from all of you on this! Until next time, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

images

Three Best Thanksgiving Films to Watch This Year!

Welcome back! Thanksgiving. I know it’s a foreign term these days. Lots of us jump ahead to Christmas. Why? I don’t know, but I bet it is psychological.

Anyway…

Thanksgiving brings up lots of memories and feelings. Being my weird random pop culture self, I think about the movies I watched this time of year. Sure, I think about turkey, family and online shopping (like the normal American) but those Thanksgiving movies are the strongest memories for me.

I’m sure everyone has their favorite type of movies they like to watch this time of year. I have three that I always watch and for once I am not going to be talking about Hallmark movies! I assume everyone is giving me a high five right now. Nope? I don’t care!

Here is a list of my top three required Thanksgiving movies!

Home for the Holidays

Home_for_the_holidays_Mercury_528_871_2

Home for the Holidays is one of those movies that no one talks about anymore. It rarely plays on television but when it does a strong wave of nostalgia hits me. What is very weird is I never saw this film till I was in high school. It makes no sense that I would get a nostalgic feeling while watching this movie.

That is the point of the movie, at least to me. The movie is about adult children coming home for the holidays. Each one is fulfilling a certain trope, but all disappointed in their lives…to a point. Even though all the characters are going through a lot of dramas the film still has a warm feeling. Almost like you, yourself had been to this Thanksgiving before or at least experienced a Thanksgiving like this as a child.

I like to watch this movie see a family fall apart just to come back together. I also watch it because no matter how bad Thanksgiving may go, it won’t be as bad as this families.

With Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning (this movie is chock full of stars) it is worth the watch to feel that warm family drama and realize your family isn’t so bad.

[amazon_link asins=’B00005LOKR’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’randompop87-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f0f3895a-caab-11e7-8974-1f90301d7020′]

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

large_3r93acWXFDcxOwo4XfeBi5RhuPR

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a newer entry for me. I have a long-standing love/hate relationship with all things John Hughes (that is an upcoming blog post).  Let me just say that John Hughes have influenced me a lot as a writer. He is not the only writer that has influenced me but his work came into my life at a very exciting time.

This movie is one of my favorites of his because I love buddy comedies. Especially hate to love buddy comedies. It is opposites attract as two guys (John Candy and Steve Martin) get stuck in various weird positions as they try to find their way home for Thanksgiving. I think I love this one so much because Steve Martin and John Candy have a great chemistry between them. They play off each other so well. I sometimes wonder what else those two could have done. Maybe without them, Chris Farley and David Spade would have had a harder time breaking into that ‘buddy comedy’ type of film (controversial I know, but many of their movies remind me of this one).  I think Del (John Candy) is what truly makes the film for me. His ability to constantly be positive and try his hardest for his new friend (even when Neal (Steve Martin) is an ass) makes me root for him.

This movie is funny and reminds you that the holidays make everyone go nuts. Sometimes you need to relax and realize that life never goes to plan.

[amazon_link asins=’B00AEFYVGU’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’randompop87-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f96d7cf9-caab-11e7-af73-c5ee1ce4de28′]

Son in Law

MV5BMTU3NjA1NjQ1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMzQxNjAz._V1_SX640_SY720_

Son in Law is a Pauly Shore movie. Wait! Come back! Let me explain! Out of all the Pauly Shore movies, this one is my favorite, and it just happens to be set during Thanksgiving. A lot of people roll their eyes at how dull the film is. It is full of obvious tropes, and you can tell where the movie is going, but it still works for me. I hate to tell people this, but sometimes you just need a light, funny and sweet movie. Not everything needs to be dramatic.

This movie covers a common romance trope. Rebecca (Carla Gugino) from a small town in South Dakota goes to college in California. She does not fit in right away but with the help from her new best friend Crawl (Pauly Shore) she assimilates. Meanwhile, her boyfriend back home is waiting for her to come back for Thanksgiving to propose. Since Rebecca isn’t ready, she brings along Crawl to play her fake fiancé. Family bonding and hilarity ensues.

I love to watch this at Thanksgiving (all the time actually) because it is like visiting old friends. I get invested in these characters. You want the whole family (including Crawl) to be happy. The characters have a lot more going on under the surface that makes you love them.

The cast has great chemistry, and it does not slut shame the girl that is meant to be an irritant. In fact, the movie recognizes that she isn’t the problem, and she ends up becoming friends with the family. Sorry, went off on a tangent. It does not often happen in movies, so I like to point it out when it does. This movie is fun for everyone and can always get a good laugh out of me.

 

[amazon_link asins=’B006RXQ436′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’randompop87-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’00280e22-caac-11e7-a6ec-1565df393014′]

 

 What are your favorite Thanksgiving movies? Let me know down below or tweet me @AmandaJ718! Until then, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

 

 

Love it or Leave it: Sweet Valley High (The TV Show)

article-1371729-0b696d6200000578-31_468x395

Welcome back! We all have that show. The show that you adore and can quote at the drop of a hat. You love it, but you are the only one. Everyone has one of those shows that just didn’t take off with the masses. We are left with a very limited series that you watch over and over again as they write an analysis on the internet. Probably on a blog.

Ahem…moving on.

This is what this series is about, taking those shows that had a very limited run and deciding if the show deserved better. After all, you may love a show, but after you analyze it, you can understand why it didn’t take off.

What are we looking at this week?

Sweet Valley High (The TV Show)

Background

Sweet Valley High started out as a teen book series.  Francine Pascal had created a teen-oriented soap opera in the 70’s, but no one wanted to produce it. However, her agent ended up seeing the idea to Bantam Books.  Pascal created a “bible” for ghostwriters to write the Sweet Valley High series.  She didn’t have an interest in writing the series because, “…she had no interest in writing them in part because her previous books were for a “sophisticated, educated audience.”The series went on to great success being the first teen title to make the New York Times Bestsellers List.

Francine Pascal’s original plans came together after Sweet Valley High was picked up as a television series.  Sweet Valley High aired from September 5, 1994, to October 14, 1997.  The series was produced by Saban Entertainment. The rights are now held by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

The series is like the books. It follows sweet and shy Elizabeth Wakefield and her loud and crazy twin Jessica Wakefield. They navigate the typical teen issues with their friends at Sweet Valley High.

Where it Stands in Pop Culture

The series was popular in syndication on Fox stations for three seasons. Then the show moved to UPN for its fourth only to be canceled for low ratings.

Sweet Valley is still popular among 90’s kids who remember the books and series fondly.  Season one of the show was released on DVD by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 2005.

Did it Deserve Better?

No. Not at all. Let me explain.

I watched this show on Saturdays as a kid.  I was a huge fan of the series and wanted to see my favorites in action.  I remember liking the series as a 9-year-old but as a 29-year-old the series has a different look.

After watching a few episodes on YouTube, I couldn’t believe I loved this series. Let us start with the cosmetic issues. The acting from the some of the cast is terrible.  To be fair, though, the actual twins who play Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield (Brittany and Cynthia Daniel) aren’t bad. That explains why they went on to have minor careers while the rest faded away.  The show’s set feel cheap.  You could tell the show had a shoestring budget.

Now onto the deeper issues. The show is highly rooted in 90s lore which is fine. That is the time it exists in, however; it’s all 90s. Nothing timeless was added into the show, so it ages poorly.  I feel like the show was trying to be the teen version of Melrose Place just without the sex.  You could say a very pale imitation of Beverly Hills 90210.  I also felt like the teenage issues covered in the show were already covered by Saved by the Bell. Saved by the Bell had charm while Sweet Valley High was crude and preached too hard at its audience. It drove me nuts while watching.

I understand the nostalgia factor for the books is what drove this show but as that nostalgia fades all we have is this pale copy of a teen show.  It didn’t deserve better than it got. In fact, it got more than it deserved.

One thing I do like? That theme song is catchy. I miss theme songs.

Check out the show on DVD and episodes on YouTube.

Until next time.

Tropes that Need to Die in a Fire

Welcome back ! Last week I talked about the tropes that I adore and have changed my life (go with it). This week, I’m going into the deep dark vault. The place where I store all my hate. That is right. This time, I will be talking about the tropes that need to die in a fire. People need to stop using these tropes before it is too late! Don’t feed the trolls people!

*Coughs*

Anyway, here are my top three tropes that need to die in a fire! Let us begin!

Trope #1: Love at First Sight

robin-ted-578x277

Ted. You Suck.

I’m someone who believes there is someone for everyone. However, I never bought the whole idea of looking at someone and knowing you both are destined to be together. It feels off, and you end up ruining a television show by following that trope (I’m looking at you How I Met Your Mother). Love at First Sight never felt practical and usually produced annoying characters. No. Just go away already. Like that crappy ending to a great television show (Swarkles FTW).

Trope #2: Take the Glasses Off/Look she is beautiful

201_04_Shes-All-That-Makeover.0

Yeah. Taking off your glasses didn’t make you cute. Mac makeup and a push-up bra did.

I am a proud glasses wearer. I love my glasses. Glasses are a part of me. I HATE with a passion being told by the media that girls who wear glasses are nerds and antisocial.  The only way a person will get popular and receive love is if that person takes their glasses off. That is crap, and that type of trope needs to die. Die horribly.

Trope #3: Temp Love Interest

6f29b1aaa2f51773fd9f54aed6dd996b

Poor Emily. She never had a chance!

I always hate when shows break up the main couple and give each or one of them a passing love interest. Sometimes they are pure evil or perfectly sweet. Either way, it sucks. It either becomes too obvious and you feel like you are wasting an episode watching this two act out of character or you feel sorry for the temporary love interest being stuck between a former couple. It isn’t fun for the audience to watch and is insulting to bring in characters for that small run. No. Die in a fire trope.

Whew. That felt better. I hope never to see those tropes again. I need to close the vault. The darkness is creepy, and I like to stay positive. Tell me about the tropes that you want people to stop using on television shows in the comments below. Don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter. I like to talk about anything so come on over!

Until next time, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed!

These Tropes Will Change Your Life

Hey! Welcome back to the randomness or as I call it the exclamation hour! Minute. Second. Anyway, moving on.

I recently was thinking about tropes. What exactly is a trope Amanda? I’m glad you asked reader I made up in my head. A trope is an overused plot device used in movies, television, and novels. Even if you aren’t aware of it, you have favorite tropes and tropes that make your skin crawl.

I will be talking about my favorites.

Here are my top three favorite tropes that make my heart sing and best of all, make me want to spend money watching or reading that trope. All trope names were gathered from the best time waster of a site TVTropes.  Let’s begin!

Trope #1: Agents Dating

download

Scarecrow and Mrs. King

This one self-explanatory. I have a thing for partners who learn how to trust each other and then ultimately fall in love. It is highly hated, and the basis for most television shows on the air right now, but nothing makes me happier.

TV Shows to Watch: Silk Stalking’s, Chuck, Scarecrow and Mrs. King and Castle

Trope #2: Aww…Look they really do love each other

44193_original

The Pretender (Jarod and Miss Parkers relationship is the real definition of this trope)

Nothing makes me happier than a love/hate relationship. The couple that needs to have little fights to keep the marriage/relationship come alive. It isn’t particularly healthy or normal, but I enjoy watching it unfold. I like to think the couple is snarky in public and sweet in private. It is cute and personal, and I love to see it on my television screen.

TV Shows to Watch: The Pretender, The X-Files, All in the Family

Trope #3: Longing Look

download (1)

Veronica Mars (LoVe always wins)

Ah. The look. The look that two people who like each other share. Usually over some 80’s soft rock. Hard Habit to Break indeed! This trope is a favorite because it is the only time I’m ok with silence. A good actor can display a lot without words.  When that happens, and you feel all of these emotions and understand where a couple stands. It is just so much fun to watch.

TV Shows to Watch: Veronica Mars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Call the Midwife

These are my three favorite tropes. The tropes that get me interested in any television show. Let me know what your favorite tropes are in the comments below! Don’t forget to check me out Twitter and tell me about your favorite tropes there.

Until next time, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed!

Love it or Leave it: Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23

80799

Welcome back! We all have that show. The show that you adore and can quote at the drop of a hat. You love it, but you are the only one. Everyone has one of those shows that just didn’t take off with the masses. We are left with a very limited series that you watch over and over again as they write an analysis on the internet. Probably on a blog.

Ahem…moving on.

This is what this series is about, taking those shows that had a very limited run and deciding if the show deserved better. After all, you may love a show, but after you analyze it, you can understand why it didn’t take off.

What are we looking at this week?

ABC’s Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23

Background

Originally Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, created by Nahnatchka Khan, was being developed by Fox in 2009 but was passed on for the Fall schedule.  Then in 2011, it was picked up by ABC for a pilot.  The series was picked up for the 2011-2012 ABC season.

The show now named, Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, follows June Colburn as she tries to figure out how life after moving from Indiana to New York City for a job that ended up not existing. She ends up moving in with Chloe who likes to overcharge rent and act outrageously until the roommates leave. June isn’t like the others, and they form a friendship.  The show includes James Van Der Beek playing a fictionalized version of himself (that is a lot of fun) and Mark Reynolds who was supposed to mentor June at her first job but ends up her coworker at a coffee shop.

Where does it stand in Pop Culture History?

The series aired on ABC on Wednesdays then moved around quite a bit during its second season.  The series received positive reviews and was picked by the Critics’ Choice Television Awards as one of the Most Exciting New SeriesThe first season had seven episodes while the second season had only 19 air and eight unaired.

The show was pulled from the schedule and canceled in January 2013.  The eight unaired episodes were streamed on Hulu and the ABC website. Now, it appears on Netflix and Logo TV.

Love it or Leave it?

This show was ahead of its time. I like to think this show was a snappier version of 2 Broke Girls. It has the same elements.  One is crazy and has had a rougher life (the brunette) while there is one that is all sunshine and has had a pretty normal middle-class life (the blonde).  They all have some crazy friends to talk to, and there you go. You have both 2 Broke Girls, and this Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23.

That said, this show is a gem.  I watched it live and on Netflix and always find myself giggling at the hijinks of these characters. It is funny. It’s dirty. It’s realistic. It’s a fantasy.  There are times you see yourself in these characters, and there are times when you hate them so much.  James Van Der Beek playing an exaggerated version of himself is great. My inner Dawson’s Creek fangirl loved how much he made fun of his career making character. Mostly because James Van Der Beek was known to be somber. Finally, even he can laugh at the show.

I think the reason it got canceled was that it didn’t fit into the new world ABC was creating. This was before Tuesday and Wednesday nights equaled crazy family nights.  Don’t Trust the B wouldn’t have worked with that new branding.  I’m convinced it would have done better on Fox back then. It would have fit in with New Girl and The Mindy Project.

 

Even though the show was cut short and not too many still talk about it, I think it is worth a watch.  It is funny; you will relate to these characters, and it knew what it wanted. It just wanted to have fun.  Check it out on Netflix to see for yourself.

Until next time.