Your Lazy Hazy Black Friday Television Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again. When we quietly open our wallets and our arms for the Holiday season. For American’s it is the start of that season. In fact, our biggest shopping day of the year is just around the corner.

Black Friday.

I’m one of those nuts that are running around a target looking at things I don’t need. Don’t be like me. Sleep off that turkey and pie. Shop online. In your bathrobe. While you watch us crazy on the television fight over a television we don’t need.

Where to start though. If you are reading this blog, you must be a television fan. So, to help you out, here are television shows I think you out there would like or want to buy for others.

I know. You can thank me later for introducing you to some awesome television.

Let’s crack on!

Hotel

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What it is?

Set in The St. Gregory Hotel in San Francisco it follows the lives of the general manager and his staff as they interact with the guests of the week while dealing with their own problems.  It is an anthology show that boasts guest stars such as Julia Duffy, Marion Ross, Elizabeth Taylor and Estelle Getty (Yes…Sophia herself).  The show created by Aaron Spelling and was considered the serious version of The Love Boat. It covers infidelity, spousal abuse and AIDS awareness.  It ran for five years and seemed to be lost to the sands of time. Until it was put back on DVD a few years ago for fans and new fans to enjoy.

Why You Should Buy It

I binge watched this two summers ago and enjoyed every minute of it.  The different stories brought in by the guests of the hotel made it a fun experience, but the heart of the show was the main cast especially the characters Victoria Cabot, Peter McDermott, Billy Griffin (JUSTICE FOR BILLY) and Christine Francis. These characters are what drove the heart of the show and made me want to come back for more.

You shippers out there, you will love the chemistry between Peter and Christine. They are the big relationship of the show and you will love watching them get closer. Even better? Christine is a woman who stands on her own two feet and is a great foil for Peter and his hidden past.  Not only will you love the couple, you will love the individual characters too.

Victoria Cabot (owner of the St. Gregory) is the queen, and Billy Griffin was an awesome character with a fascinating history that was never fully explored, but he is worth watching out for as well. These characters not only worm their way into your heart you can enjoy a different story each week with seasoned speculator actors.  Highly recommend it.  Worth the buy.

You’re The Worst

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What it is?

This show was created by Stephen Falk for FX in 2014 and covers the lives of four toxic people as they navigate their lives in Los Angeles. The show has four seasons that have already aired and their fifth will sadly be their last. Since 2015 the show has aired on the sister network of FX, FXX.

Why You Should Buy It

This ongoing series is the most human thing on television.  These characters (Jimmy, Gretchen, Lindsay and Edgar) and their faults are what keep me coming back for more.  Even though some of the situations are crazy but it’s how the characters react to these situations is what makes it funny and sometimes sad.

The main couple, Gretchen and Jimmy, are both so flawed you will want to knock their heads around but as the seasons go on you get to see them for more than the self-deprecating actions.  The best episodes relate to Sunday Funday and the episodes that focus on one character at a time. The character study episodes are amazing, and everyone deserves to see them.

Scarecrow and Mrs. King

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What it is?

Scarecrow and Mrs. King was a series that ran on CBS from 1983 to 1987. For four years viewers followed Amanda King as she figured her way around the world of secret agents (never spies) with her partner Lee Stenson (Scarecrow).  The show has Billy and Francene to help her out as she tries to hide her life form her mother and two young children. The show was a huge hit in its time but stopped short by Kate Jackson (Amanda King) breast cancer diagnosis.

Why You Should Buy It

This show is a personal favorite of mine and for good reason. There are secret missions, funny moments, scary moments, big eighties hair and some good old fashion cold war stories. See? Some things never change, do they? One could say it’s a lot like Chuck. It has a woman (Amanda) who is finding herself in a weird place. Divorced with two children and looking for a job. She wants to find her own way and finds that in a world she never expected. Not only does she find her calling but finds her best friend in the process. Lee is a great character who has a very dark past that comes up in exciting ways.  He has faults just like Amanda and they work together to overcome them.

Much like the other choices, the shipping is quite good in this series. Amanda and Lee are the driving force of the show and have the strongest chemistry.  They are the classic eighties couple but with an edge. They are great individually and together. I won’t give anything away but their relationship never stays stagnant for long. The plots are oddly enough still timely and you can find yourself getting lost in what happens on the show and what could have been.

Soap

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What it is?

Soap is an ABC show that aired from 1977 to 1981.  It was designed to mock the super popular daytime soap opera drama.  It follows the two sisters and their families, Jessica Tate and Mary Campbell. One was rich, and the other was middle class. It focused on all those tropes we all know and love with a dark twist to them.  The show was abruptly canceled and was left on some major cliffhangers. Which fits perfectly, doesn’t it? For a soap?

Why You Should Buy It

This show isn’t talked about enough. It was ahead of its time and wasn’t really given a chance. It covers all those famous soap opera tropes but doesn’t let it run the show.  It has its own unique voice that makes each episode a lot of fun. The storylines are insane and so unbelievable but like with daytime soaps, you stick around to see what happens next.

It’s a show that predicted what was to dominate the television landscape. The big soapy drama driven eighties nighttime soap. The only difference? Those shows don’t have Billy Crystal.

There are a few ideas to get you started on your holiday shopping journey.  Stick around because next time I will be giving ideas for the hard to shop for Soap Opera fan. If anyone out there needs any help with their holiday shopping and needs a guide, leave a comment or shoot over a suggestion on my twitter @AmandaJ718. Until next time, shop smart. Not hard.

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Tips on How to Watch Any Soap (From an Old Timer to a Newbie)

Soap Operas. They have been around since radio ruled the world.  It has developed into a genre that has, no matter what thrown at it, maintained its place in the world of television. Recently, I’ve noticed there have been quite a few new fans to the genre which is exciting, and I hope the trend continues. However, some people seem confused as to how to watch it. Yelling about plots, characters, writing and how the show is advertised when longtime fans of the genre know it’s all part of the game.  So, here are some things to remember while watching any soap opera.

  • Always Look Deeper/ Face Value Doesn’t Always Exist

I hear this often. How soaps aren’t that deep. They are trashy. They don’t provide any real thought or value. They are the sugar donuts of television. Well, I will profoundly disagree about that. When people think soap operas, they think the 80s. The big hair, harsh lighting, and bad sets. Things have changed since then. That includes the writing.  Soaps have their silly lighter plots, but since the late 80s soaps have been making their viewers think beyond the story, they are telling.  Not only are characters getting to develop a deep connection to the audience they also get to develop9 layers which informs their actions.  It makes viewers help understand what is happening and even gives them a reason to care more.  Soaps have to compete with competition that stole their formula. They had to go deeper. For people to say that soaps aren’t that serious or deep need to take another look. Things have changed and for the better.

  • The Writing, No Matter How Crazy, Always Has a Grounding Force

One of soap operas big draws or detractors is the writing. Sometimes it can be stupid. Sometimes the dialogue or situations are so ridiculous even the hardcore soap opera fans roll their eyes and take a break for the day. However, no matter how crazy or over the top, the dialogue is there are always moments or kernels of honesty. Words that need to be heard. Words that highlight or bring the show back down to the ground. The conversation between two family members, lovers or someone near death. There is always a grounding force. Quiet words among the crazy. Look for those moments. They are precious and provide much-needed character development.

  • Don’t Trust Media/Interviews

This seems to fall more for UK media than US media.  The fledgling magazine industry has to up their game. They need that hook to get people to click on their articles or buy their magazines.  That means making everything sensualized. Everything is life and death. Characters that aren’t pure evil are being played up as the evilest characters ever. Also, the sanitization of characters becomes extreme. They want to create differences and parallels to get consumers attention. People who don’t need that type of sensationalism get caught up in the extremes, and it gets upsetting or annoying. For others, it creates pictures of characters or situations in the wrong light. That is why it is confusing when one watches the actual show or episode in question.  Also, actors are trying to sell the story or their characters. They will never give you the truth. NEVER. Never trust an actor’s words when it comes to storylines. They need to sell it just as hard, and they want the audience to have a good time with any surprises on the horizon.

  • Any Character is Capable of Anything

Yes. I get this a lot. ‘No way could so and so do that!’ Yes, they can and they will at some point. To make storylines work characters will do objectionable or noble things.  Soaps are designed to be a heightened version of real life. The characters are like the viewers and will end up doing things for the right and wrong reasons. YES. Your favorites will screw up on the regular. Your love to hate will make the right decisions for the right reasons. Much like life, people can change and soaps reflect that.

  • Unless Your Favorite Character/Couple is Leaving Soon, They will Never Be Super Happy for Long

This is more for new fans coming into soaps with the mindset of nighttime dramas.  Your favorite couple? The one you are rooting to make it? To defeat all odds? They will always be doing that. They will have their moments of happiness but be aware of those moments. When a couple is at its happiest and doesn’t have conflict? That is when the hand of doom is coming.  There are different couples with different agendas, but the super couples will never be happy for long. The comedy couples will be happy but only used in one capacity or until the writers find them a good story.  The mid-player couples that are on and off, but the audience doesn’t notice or mind.  Doesn’t matter. Just be aware, unlike a nighttime drama that is being played out in 22 episodes and then a nice long break, soaps are constantly moving. Never to break for anything (holidays mostly) so things can’t stay rosy for long.  It’s the most difficult level of the shipping game. It’s not for the faint of heart.  When shipping a soap couple, you need to have a strong heart and stomach.

There are more tips, but I’ll end it there. Soap operas are designed to reflect our daily lives but heightened and more dramatic.  We are meant to relate, cheer, cry, hate, and love these characters and the places they live.  If you remember those tips I listed above, you can have a great experience watching too.  It won’t always be perfect (what is?) but remember the biggest tip of all, sit back and enjoy the journey. You never know where it is going on a soap.

Do you have any tips to add? Is there anything you would like me to cover on this blog? Please feel free to leave a comment down below or tweet me @AmandaJ718! Until next time, you know where to find me. That’s right. In front of the TV.

The Phoebe Buffay Confidence

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The older I get, the more I appreciate the television show Friends. My first exposure to the show was when it was in its fifth season. I had turned eleven years old, and I found myself drawn to the show meant one thing to me.

Look at how cool it is to be an adult and live in the city! We can hang at a Coffeehouse and impressive apartments! Ross and Rachel forever you guys! I want to be like Rachel or Monica!

Yeah, since then I have grown up. The show is more of a fable of 20-somethings to 30-somethings trying to figure out their lives. Those tiny coffee houses are now Starbucks. There is no way, in the beginning at least, they could have lived in those apartments in Manhattan no less. I know Monica’s apartment is rent controlled but still, it would be up there in price. Ross and Rachel are not the healthiest couples to root for in the show (Monic and Chandler are awesome).

Finally, Rachel and Monica are still great, but Phoebe deserves some love too. At age eleven it never occurred to me that Phoebe was the one I should be looking up to on the show. I just came to this conclusion at age twenty-nine.

After a long rewatch on Netflix (hi couch boyfriend!), I came up with three rules that I believe makes Phoebe someone to adore and respect.

So, without further ado, here are the three rules of the Phoebe Buffay Confidence Plan.

 Don’t Care What People Think

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This is a big one. It is also one of the hardest for anyone to accomplish.  Whether she is singing at Central Perk or running free through Central Park, Phoebe doesn’t care what others think of her. Since she doesn’t, she is a lot happier than the other characters. She has a tendency to do what she wants and enjoy it even when she fails.

Flirt Early and Often

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Phoebe flirts with abandon. That ties into the whole ‘not caring what people think.’  A good amount of us would find just walking up to someone and flirting a daunting task, but Phoebe does it. She just goes for it, and regardless of what happens, she can say she tried. Also, it’s some of the finest dialogue in the show.

Bring Only Positive Energy into the Universe

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Phoebe doesn’t have the greatest childhood. Her mom killed herself. Her dad was missing in action. Her twin sister is a terrible (still funny) human being.  Her grandma lied to her about technically being adopted. She lived on the streets and did anything to survive. Even though she went through all that she only wants to bring good into the world.  One would assume she would be cynical and angry at what the universe dealt her. Nope. She is someone who just keeps moving and spreading positivity whether people want her to or not.

If we follow this plan life would be a lot better. That is something I plan to this for the next month. I hope you try to do this as well.

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Until next time, be as awesome as Phoebe Buffay and sing along to her songs.

Is Television Being Dumbed Down?

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Spoilers Are Ruining Everything

I’m a television fan (no way Amanda we haven’t noticed) and because I am a tv fan I have looked for my fair share of spoilers.

Ah, spoilers.

Gossip is the little tidbits that keep us interested in a television show.  Sometimes. It could stop us from watching, but that’s for another time.  The internet has made coming across spoilers easier than ever.   There are whole websites dedicated to the art of the spoilers.  They make it their job to find spoilers for fans regardless if they want to see them or not.

In the past, spoilers were hard to find.  Sometimes a brief preview of an upcoming show would appear in a magazine, talk show, or entertainment show but most audiences were in the dark about what was to come.

Did that make things better?

Take Soap Opera for instance. Other than spots on entertainment shows or the Soap Opera Digest the soap opera fan was in the dark about what was happening next.  Now, between set reports, rumors and the remaining soap magazines reporting spoilers like baseball scores. Which fan had more fun? The one riding the storyline wave as it came or the one who already swam into calming territory?

I guess it depends on the person.  Personally, I believe that spoilers might be ruining the television experience.  Spoilers tend to ruin surprises. That surprise twist that makes an episode. That storyline that has the possibility to become legendary can be reversed because a small fraction of angry fans complained enough on Twitter to change the writer’s minds.

Why can’t we, as an audience, just let the story play itself out. Let the story take us into directions we didn’t see coming.  If the story ends up being disappointing, we can move on from the show.  Being always aware of the possible twists and turns can make a story disappointing too.

So, as I write this, I plan to avoid spoilers as best I can.

Will you?

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed.

Love it or Leave it! Saved by the Bell: The College Years

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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 Saturday 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?

The ABC show Saved by the Bell: The College Years

Background

In 1993, the successful teen sitcom Saved by the Bell ended after four years with the main characters graduating high school and moving onto college. Executives at NBC wanting to keep the gravy train going decided to follow Zack Morris, A.C. Slater and Screech to Cal U. The first episode aired right after the last Saved by the Bell and then moved to its normal spot on Tuesday nights.

The show introduced new characters such as the Mike Rodgers (the dorm advisor), Leslie Burke (roommate), Alex Tabor (roommate) and Danielle Marks (another roommate). Danielle was written out after the pilot and replaced with Kelly Kapowski, a Saved by the Bell alum.  The primary focus started out with Zack trying to get Leslie to like him while falling back in love with Kelly. That died out after three episodes and followed the group seeking to navigate that time between being a kid and adulthood.

The show was canceled after one season and wrapped up in a television movie where Zack and Kelly get married in Vegas. Everyone attended except for Alex (who’s actress refused to appear).

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Pop Culture History

The series wasn’t well received. It ranked 88th and averaged a 7.8 household rating. The show was canceled and forgotten.

In the fall of 1993, the Saved by the Bell series went on with a whole new group of kids (Mr. Belding/Screech sticking around) at Bayside High.  The series had guest appearances from some of the old cast and lasted seven years.

Did it Deserve Better?

I was a big Saved by the Bell fan. I didn’t watch live. I was part of the TBS rerun generation. I think I’ve seen every episode of that series (not the new class series though) more times that I can count. That includes the movies. This show was a big part of my childhood.

That said, it got better than deserved. Saved by the Bell wasn’t designed to last as long as it did. It was being used to talk about issues in a way kids and teens could understand, which works great in high school. A universal experience.  Once you reach college, all bets are off. Being taught ‘lessons’ in a college setting is tough. You can still learn but not the same way.  Cheating in college isn’t a lesson you should be learning in college. You learn that in elementary school. The show lost that crutch of lesson learning in college because everyone’s experiences are different in a college setting. It lost its edge. Also, if I remember correctly, Zack couldn’t stop time anymore. It had to be more realistic.

Not that I don’t enjoy the show. I loved it, and I still do. I look at it as a bridge to that final movie where Zack and Kelly finally get married. It’s like a miniseries leading us to these characters’ final conclusions. I enjoyed the dorm manager backstory and trying to get an education himself.  I liked the two new roommates that kept the guys on their toes. Yeah, they were copies of Lisa and Jessie, but it worked.

A show that once started as filler on Saturdays to fulfill an education requirement had a great run. Fans of the show (myself included) should be very happy with what we got in the end. A nice filled out story with a happy ending.

What is amusing to me is the show was getting a 7.8 in the ratings. Today that would be considered gold and the show would have gotten another season. Amazing to see how things have changed since 1993 on broadcast television.

The show and movies are streaming on Hulu. Go check it out if you want to see how the original Saved by the Bell show ends. It isn’t a required but still fun to watch.

Enjoy the show, and tell me below if you like it or feel like we should leave this show in the past. Until next time, enjoy the pop culture!