7 Lessons from TV Romances of the 90s

June 5, 2012 § 6 Comments

I was a child of the 90s and a child of television, so it goes without saying that my view on real-life romances is somewhat ingrained from 90s TV.  Maybe that’s why I can’t find a girlfriend.

Because real life is not TV and movies.  The stories we watch on the breast tube are meant to be more interesting and engaging than real life because that’s why we watch them.  If they were not, we wouldn’t watch TV because we could get that same entertainment outside.  (Entertainment outside you say?  Yeah right.  Now THAT’S a tall tale, my friend!)

Television romance usually starts with anguished longing for another and so we follow.  We watch and wait and see if our hero will get the girl and inevitably they do.   The two loves are united and as viewers, we are satisfied because that’s what we were waiting for all along.  However, how many of my real life crushes became sweethearts?

I think I’m about 0-for-2,513 in that category.

Relationships don’t always bloom from a crush.  Sometimes they just happen.  Whether organic or forced, sometimes love sparks from a drunken makeout behind a dive bar or from a friend right in front of you that you had never noticed before.  And sometimes, it is from a crush.

But maybe the inherent problem with “crushes” is that they are so one-sided.  If a crush is reciprocated early on, then you should be able to spot it.  Returned flirtation should soon turn into something real and if it doesn’t, then it’s probably never meant to be.  Yet on television, romances almost always start off as unrequited love and almost always turn into the requited version.

I thought for awhile yesterday not about the crushes I had (because that would require me to think about my actual life and NO THANKS!) but on the best television romances that I grew up watching and the lessons we learned from these relationships.

What started as a crush, soon turned into these 90s TV Romances and the lessons we learned:

Ross and Rachel, Friends

Lesson: Sometimes you never get over a crush or past love.

The show may have been called “Friends” but the stage for show was set in the pilot episode when we found out in the beginning that Ross had always loved Rachel and now she had appeared back in his life, without any idea that Ross had ever felt this way.  So everybody was immediately trapped in this universe of “Is Ross going to win her over?”

Which was bullshit because Ross was never my favorite character.  A bit too whiny, know-it-all, and pretentious for my liking, the only characteristic of Ross that I could relate to was this unrequited love that he had been holding onto forever.  And clearly since Rachel was too good and too hot for him, it was almost like additional icing on the cake for every guy that had ever loved a girl that was out of his league.

On-again, off-again, will they ever?, “we were on a break,” the romance literally lasted from episode one to the series finale without ever being a sure thing.  Ross and Rachel will always be remembered as the quintessential television romance of the decade, but the writers knew what they were doing and screw you writers.

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Best TV Channel Tournament Primer: CBS

May 16, 2012 § 5 Comments

Over the course of I-don’t-know-how-long, I will be breaking down which network or cable channel currently has the best lineup of programming year-round.  It would be too much to simply throw it at you at once, so I’ve broken it up and we’re starting with the primers.

These primers will help me and help you understand the shows that are currently on, as well as the shows that have been picked up for the fall and so on.  It’s impossible to 100% accurately judge a show before it’s aired, but I’m going to do it anyway.  I mean, did anyone honestly think that Whitney was going to be good?  I think even Whitney herself saw those billboards and said “Oh God.”

We’re starting with a network that has almost nothing for you if you’re under the age of fifty. Okay, so I know that many of you just love The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, and I’m not discounting that fact, but CBS is a drama, sports, news, old person network.

CBS has six sitcoms and they are mostly shitty.

SITCOMS:

Two and A Half Men

How I Met Your Mother

The Big Bang Theory

Rules of Engagement

Mike & Molly

2 Broke Girls

Evaluation: Even if HIMYM and Bang were as funny as everyone tells me that they are, we live in a world where laugh tracks are about a decade behind when they were already outdated.  The sad part about it, is that there is still something ingrained in popular America that people just don’t seem to think that something is funny if the show doesn’t blatantly tell them: “Hey, DID YOU NOT NOTICE HOW HILARIOUS THIS IS?  LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE LAUGHING!”

Then again… Kaley Cuoco…

Basically all of the great sitcoms on TV anymore do not use a laugh track, and I have no problem understanding my cue to laugh.  Because laughing is a response to an emotion you feel, not something you do when you’re simply told to do so.  If you’re at the store and you see an old lady slip on a banana peel, do you need to me to come up next your ear and go “HAHAHA, ITS OKAY TO LAUGH NOW!”?

Laugh tracks are terrible, awful, gross, and pathetic.  No matter how good the writing is on these shows, it’s been covered in a veil of sorry laugh tracks and I can’t take them seriously. Again, even when CBS is good, it’s a channel for old people.

Two and A Half Men proved that they did the right thing by not paying Charlie Sheen because they still have huge ratings with Ashton Kutcher.  Shouldn’t they just replace all of the characters with monkeys and pay them in bananas?  Two and a Half Monkeys = Profit.

Dumb..dumb…dumb..dumby-dumby-dumb..hoohooohoohoo… duuummbbb!

DRAMAS:

CSI

CSI: NY

NCIS

NCIS: LA

Criminal Minds

The Mentalist

The Good Wife

Hawaii Five-O

Blue Bloods

Person of Interest

Evaluation:

Uhhh.. I watched CSI about seven years ago when it had the dad from Fear and not Lawrence Fishburne but is he even still on the show?  Maybe I don’t watch these shows but you know what?  I have never heard anyone talk about these shows either.  You know why?  Because I’m not 60 and my friends aren’t that old either.

And yet, according to a Harris Poll, NCIS was voted as America’s favorite TV show.  Ever?  Really?  Do you know who participates in Harris Polls?  Really freakin’ old people!  Not a single time in my life have I watched NCIS, and it’s been on for nine years, but I’ve never even seen a non-ironic tweet about the show either.  You know why?  OLD PEOPLE DON’T TWEET.

Just in case you’re wondering who is in NCIS.

It’s not mainstream, it’s not popular, people don’t have NCIS parties.  The only person I know who is on the show is Mark Harmon and only because I just read that article.  The only person I know on NCIS: LA is LL Cool J because haha LL Cool J your career is ridiculous.  NCIS has been on for nine years and has been nominated for two Emmy’s in it’s entire run (Stunt Coordination in 2008 and Guest Star Charles Durning in 2005) and not that awards are everything but it’s an indication that nobody gives a shit about NCIS or it’s spinoff.

I’ve heard that The Good Wife might be legit and The Mentalist has a really funny show title but that’s about it.  The saddest part is losing the David Caruso meme after CSI: Miami was cancelled.

However, none of this will ever change because nearly 20 million old people watch shows like NCIS and CSI every week and CBS is happy with it’s number even if it’s not the “target demo” that networks really seek.

New and Upcoming Shows:

Partners - “Partners centers around Charlie (Krumholtz) and Louis (Urie), two business partners who are also old friends. Charlie is straight and Louis is gay. When Charlie decides to propose to his girlfriend, Louis’ over-the-top attempts to be a supportive friend could result in the breakup of his own relationship.”

Read: Gay guy and straight guy?  Guess what: Partners is written/produced from the makers of Will & Grace!  No way!  Considering how many gay people are in/run Hollywood, you’d think other people would come up with shows with gay characters, but there aren’t many!

But then again… Sophia Bush…

I love you so much that I’ve seen Hitcher like 12 times.

Friend Me: “Pals from Indiana (Nicholas Braun and Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who move to Los Angeles to seek new jobs and have differing views about blending in.”

Read: McLovin’s movie career stalls, gets a TV pilot.  The friends work at Groupon, and while the internet coupon company says that they aren’t involved with the show, you have to believe that there’s some effort here to give new life to the quickly failing/scamming company.

I still like you.

Vegas: “Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis star in “Vegas,” a show inspired by former Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb, a fourth-generation rancher who tries to bring order to sin city in the 1960s.”

Read: D-Quaid makes the inevitable move to television.  Wasn’t there already a shitty show called Vegas on NBC?  This is set in the sixties and is based on a true story or something but frankly “gritty” shows on network television are rarely gritty.  If this was on cable, I’d be interested.

Four and a Half Men.

Elementary: “Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson in a modern-day take on the crime-fighting duo that’s set in New York.”

Read: I constantly hear Jonny Lee Miller referred to as “the guy from Eli Stone” but not to me.  Come on.  It’s the guy from Hackers!  That’s what he is!  And now he’s solving mysteries in a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, so maybe this will be as good as The Cosby Mysteries.  Mystery shows belong on one channel: USA.

What the pinnacle of a career looks like.

Made In Jersey: “Janet Montgomery as a lawyer at a high-powered New York law firm who draws on her background as a prosecutor in Trenton, New Jersey.”

Read: Street smarts in a “man’s world!”  Hey, it’s working for Maria Bello on Prime Suspect, right?  Oh, it didn’t?  That got cancelled?  Uh oh.  On the bright side, hellllooo there Janet Montgomery!

Golden Boy: “about the rise of the youngest police commissioner in New York and the professional and personal costs he pays to achieve that rank.”

Read: Also known as: Doogie Howser, P.D.  this show was originally set to star Ryan Phillippe but he pulled out and it’s now starring Theo James from Downton Abbey.  I tried to watch Downton Abbey once but in the middle of the first episode I got the hankerin’ to watch the second half of Titanic and so far haven’t gotten back to D.A. but I will one day so that I know what everyone is talking about.

Who Gets a Second Season Predictions: Partners, Elementary, and Made in Jersey.

Award Shows:

The Grammy Awards, The People’s Choice Awards, The Daytime Emmy Awards, The Tony Awards, The Academy of Country Music Awards.  Nothing to see here.  Oh Grammys?  Yeah… I agree with Homer Simpson’s take on the Grammys.

Game Shows: The Price is Right.  Sorry Drew, but I miss Bob.

Yup.

Late Night: Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  

CBS has the best late night lineup, but I haven’t watched late night talk shows since I was a teenager and I won’t watch them again until I retire.

News: 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, 48 Hours: Mystery, Crimetime Saturday.

As a lover of real crime shows and mysteries, 48 Hours Mystery is a good show but I pretty much always watch shows like that on Investigation Discovery.  However, I applaud 48 Hours for these specials!

Reality: Big Brother, Survivor, The Amazing Race, Undercover Boss

Confession: BB is my guiltiest pleasure.  I didn’t watch it for a long time but now when it’s on, I become a little obsessed.  It’s a good way to pass the time, I think.  I haven’t watched Survivor in years, but it’s still a decent reality show.  Never watched much of Amazing Race.  Undercover Boss seems like total bullshit to me.  If there were cameras on me while I worked, I would do a really great job, too.  I wouldn’t be writing this right now.

We Put the Super in Superficial.

Upcoming reality series “3″ will follow three women as they search for love.  I’m sure it’s totally “unscripted.”

Another new series from Survivor-creator Mark Burnett is “The Job” as contestants vie for a “dream job” at some of America’s “most prestigious” companies, because, you know, it really sucked when we had to earn things like that through interviews, resumes, college, etc.

Sports: NFL – the AFC Games, AFC Championship, Super Bowl every three years, SEC College Football, Formula One, NCAA Mens Basketball including the Tournament, The Masters and the PGA Championship, US Open Tennis.

As a sports lover, I appreciate any channel that covers the NFL, though I am not as big of a fan of the AFC.  Having the Super Bowl is a major prize for any network.  SEC is the most dominant division in college football.  March Madness is huge.  The Masters is probably the tournament in golf.

If you’re a sports fan, CBS has major win.

Overall:

Do you think that CBS stands much of a chance in my TV Channel Tournament?  Am I underselling them in anyway?  Overselling them?  Forgetting anything?

CBS has a win in the sports department, probably for reality shows, and for comedies and dramas that you want to watch when you really feel like shutting your brain off.  Hey, that has a market.  A big enough market to make CBS the most-watched network in America!  Just not with very good programming.

“But we like it! You. Lawn. Off.”

 

The Killing: 5 Reasons To Not Watch Season Two

March 23, 2012 § 12 Comments

Who Killed Rosie Larsen?

Who.  Really.  Gives.  A.  Shit.  Anymore?

Oh right, I do; Because I am a completest and I have been suckered into the show and finding out how it truly ends, I just hope that it only lasts two seasons.  Much like how Detective Sarah Linden should have never gone on that final call regarding Rosie, I should have never turned on that first episode of The Killing.  If you’ve never seen the show and if you’re thinking about catching up before the April 1st season premiere of the second season, let me give you some advice: Don’t.

It’s funny what AMC seems to get away with these days in terms of dramatic television.  Living off of the success of Mad Men and Breaking Bad (which are either the two best dramas on TV right now or the two best TV dramas of all-time) AMC has continued to churn out new dramas in the hopes that it can strike gold a third time.  In my opinion, it has yet to do that.

In the last year and a half, AMC has debuted three new series with great anticipation from the audience: The Walking Dead, The Killing, and Hell on Wheels.  AMC also debuted a show called Rubicon that was cancelled after one season and that I know nothing about, which tells you something else about how “Not everything on AMC is to be revered.”

For instance, The Walking Dead is incredibly popular, well-received, and is the “water cooler drama” of the moment, having just finished it’s second season after a long  mid-season intermission.  The season two finale was watched by nine million people, making it the most-watched basic cable drama telecast in history, which will assure that it stays on the air for awhile.  How good is it really though?  The Walking Dead has its moments but is incredibly flawed in story-telling, continuity, character development, and can go weeks without anything interesting happening.  Why do I watch?  Because I love zombies.  That’s basically it.  However, Dead has taken too long to get from point A to point B and the ultimate standoff between the protagonist and antagonist should have been established in season one.  Look at the epic-ness of shows like Justified and Breaking Bad and you’ll see what I mean.  I see what you’re trying to do Dead, so why not just do it already?

And this is still coming from a Walking Dead fan but are you going to make season three epic or are you going to drag this out for another two years?

Let’s be honest on level of epic-ness: Breaking Bad/Mad Men………………. BIG GAP…………………… The Walking Dead.  Can anyone really disagree with that?

The other show that came out during that time was Hell On Wheels.  The show had a lot of potential but I admit that I’ve still got the last four episodes on my DVR and they’ve been sitting there for months and I’ve never once heard anyone on Twitter or Facebook mention the show a single time.  It’s just sort of… there.  And it’ll be back for season two.

Back to the heart of this matter, now that I’ve given AMC the proper beat-down it needed on the other shows and talk about the really stupid show that was nominated for six Emmys.  The Killing will be back next Sunday and kick-off season two in the hopes that it gives you less answers than the first year.  There are a lot of reasons that you should not watch, but here are just five of them:

Bad Acting

Mireille Enos was actually nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress at the Emmys and Best Actress in a Drama at the Golden Globes (the more sensible Globes didn’t nominate The Killing in any other category) and I only have one question:  WHY?!

As Detective Sarah Linden, Enos plays a “take shit from nobody female cop that chews gum and shit and has hunches and is so much better than Detective Holder who is lazy and stupid and I’m the lead you got it cause as I said before I do not take shit from anyone did you think that just because I am a small woman that I am a pushover because you should know that I’m tough as nails and I don’t take shit from nobody.”

And the thing with The Killing is that there are very few good actors on the show so anyone that’s decent at acting should really stand out.  Those people are: Brent Sexton (Stan Larsen), Michelle Forbes (Mitch Larsen), and Eric Laden (Jamie Wright.)  I’ll give Joel Kinnamen credit because I had no clue that he was a full-blooded Swede, but that helps explain his stupid-sounding-thug accent.  Unless Enos turns out to actually be a 4-foot-tall black man in real life, I am not really sure where the “Best Actress” nominations came from but she is far from the worst actor on the show:

Bennet Ahmed

“I’m not a pedophile but I did marry Chrissy from Growing Pains”

Belko

“I’m naughty.  Momma says I been naughty.  Also, I was in Empire Records.”

Regi

“Hi.  I’m Regi.”

Councilman Darren Richmond (the WORST)

“Almost twenty years ago I was The Rocketeer.  Let’s just say my career didn’t ‘Skyrocket’ after that!”

Watch a show like Mad Men, they can sit around and talk about baseball for an hour and you’ll be entranced at the talent and method of the craft  of acting.  Watch The Killing for an hour and if they don’t produce a dead body you might as well pray for the same fate as Rosie.  It doesn’t help that the show is….

Really F’ing Cheesy

Well, I could make you watch any scene with Tom Drexler the investor

or we could just point out some of the best quotes of season one:

  • Holder: So good little dead girl was a bad little web girl.
  • Tom Drexler the Investor: People like me can do whatever the hell we want and do you know why? Because the Richmonds of the world will always clean up after us.
  • Holder: Yeah, you’re a real role model. You teach her how to shotgun a beer?
  • Tom Drexler: One shot and you get your five mil. Now you miss it, and you resign from the race. What do you say? Yes we can?
  • Darren Richmond: Adams wants to play dirty, he best like the taste of mud.
  • Mayor Adams: In no time at all, Darren’s come here and built himself a real rainbow coalition: blacks, fruits, whores, and drug addicts.
  • Linden: You don’t seem like the type that shares your toys
  • Linden: Cause you dress like Justin Bieber and eat pork rinds for dinner.
  • Linden: In situations like this, I like to ask myself: what would Jesus do? Holder: Don’t know. I’ll ask him.
The Killing takes every tv show cop cliche and says “Fuck yeah, let’s use that.  Let’s bury that cliche into the ground so deep that one day they’ll say “You’re stealing that from The Killing” because we’ll do it so hard that they’ll forget how it was done 1000 times before.”
Speaking of cliches, The Killing is set in Seattle and…

Disrespects My Home City, Seattle

Not because a young girl is murdered there, because young girls are murdered everywhere (and okay, Seattle has a certain reputation with serial killers) but by the obvious fact that everything the writers and producers of The Killing know about Seattle, they probably learned on TV and movies.

Fact: It actually doesn’t have torrential downpour every single minute of every single day.  It rains a lot in Seattle, relatively, but did you know that the sun actually does appear every day in Washington?  No joke!  We are part of the earth!  I know, crazy, right?

 

 

I live in Los Angeles now and down here we actually get much heavier rain than you’ll see in Seattle.  Sure, it rains about ten times less often, but the hard rain is in LA and the consistent rain is in Seattle… but it’s not THAT consistent.  We don’t need to walk around covered in tarps 24/7.  We do things during the day as well.  And the sun comes out.

“I’ll end up as security at the Space Needle” says Holder in one episode, in a way to note that “YES WE ARE INDEED IN SEATTLE.  I MADE A SPACE NEEDLE REFERENCE.”  I can honestly say that the only people who ever talk about or ask about the space needle are people that have never been to Seattle.  I expect in this season at some point Linden will say “Let’s go arrest the perp, but first let’s throw fish at Pike’s Place Market.”

Finally, and this has always bugged me…. WE DON’T HAVE A DEL TACO IN SEATTLE SO WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU GET THAT IDEA HOLDER?

I’m glad to finally get that off my chest.  Maybe it would be easier to accept all of this if I liked any of the characters but….

 

There Isn’t a Single Character To Root For

 

Watch a good show like The Wire or Breaking Bad or Mad Men and you’ll find yourself invested in characters that you shouldn’t root for, but you do anyway because they are amazing.  A criminal like Omar, a liar and cheater like Don Draper, a psychotic chemistry teacher like Walter White… you love them for their faults and you hate them for their faults but God Damn It you LOVE them.  Who the hell am I supposed to love or even like in The Killing?

The stupid ass mayor and his stupid ass aides?  The teacher that married his student and has an inappropriate relationship with Rosie?  The detectives that are kind of shitty at their job, one of whom is a recovering druggie that seems to have really good skills at picking up high school chicks when he need to and the other one that can’t keep her emotions in check when a murder investigation is ongoing?  And don’t even get me started on her fiance that can’t understand why she needs to finish A MURDER INVESTIGATION OF A YOUNG GIRL.

The only person that I can even kind of root for is the father Stan Larsen (and not his wife who freaks out and gets mad at him for everything he does) and I think I mostly root for Stan because he kind of looks like Louis CK:

 

Also, how amazing would it have been if the show had cast Louis CK?  How much more watchable would it be then, because Louie can actually do a really good “sad” even if his overall acting is a work in progress.  Just imagine Louie in this world as a grieving father and looking around The Killing and calling everyone out for their bullshit.  Amazing.

Too bad they didn’t though because I really don’t care what happens to any of these characters.  I just want to find out with 100% certainty who the killer is but will that ever happen, because….

 

You Won’t Get Any Answers, You Only Get Red Herrings And Questions

 

The end of season one seemed to answer the question of who killed Rosie Larsen but also left it open so that the writers could change their minds if they wanted to.  Ginia Bellafante of The New York Times defended the ending of season one, but is also a vehement defender of the show and believes it’s got a lot more positives that meet the eye.  I don’t think so.  I think we’re looking for answers but The Killing isn’t giving us any.  At least three times during the season did it seem like we had a serious candidate for who the killer was and then the next week they tore it out of our hands.

This season on The Killing:  

 

Linden: Bennet, we’ve got you on tape murdering Rosie Larsen and the DNA evidence proves it.

Bennet: But I didn’t do it!

Holder: You clearly did, we have all the evidence we need to put you away for life.

 

/Well that’s clearly it for Bennet…

 

The next week….

 

Seattle Chief of Police: We’ve got evidence that Bennet has a rock solid alibi.

Linden: But what about the video and the DNA?

Chief: The video was faked by the Coalition of People Against Muslims and the DNA was planted.

Holder: Damn son.

 

The writers feel like they can do anything and then get away with it the next week by writing something else that proves it was all a fake-out.  That’s why Ginia is clearly going to be proven wrong on her assertion that “They did prove who the killer was in season one and they’ll just move onto the next crime.”

 

I am absolutely certain that The Killing will throw a wrench into the gears next Sunday and tell us that indeed the killer was setup and we’re going to have to keep looking for Rosie’s killer.  Why?  Because the show isn’t very good and it hates to give us answers when it knows that by giving us bullshit, they won’t lose viewers.  Twin Peaks was seen as one of the greatest shows in TV history during it’s first season and was an absolute American obsession that year… until they wrapped up season one and went into season two with a new plight and was cancelled shortly thereafter.  The Killing will drag this murder on for as long as it has to, trust me.

I feel like the viewer is Tom Cruise and The Killing is Jack Nicholson:

 

The Killing: You want answers?

The Viewer: I think I’m entitled to it.

The Killing: You want answers?

The Viewer: I WANT THE TRUTH!

The Killing: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!

The Killing: Son, we live in a world that has television, and that television has to be created by men with families and responsibilities.  Who’s gonna do it?  You?  You Kenneth Arthur?  Writers have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.  You weep or Rosie Larsen, and you curse the writers.  You have that luxury.  You have the luxury of not knowing what I know.  That dragging out Rosie’s death, while tragic, probably keeps you tuned in another week.  And our existence, while annoying and incomprehensible to you, gets viewers.  You don’t want the answer to who killed Rosie because deep down in places you don’t talk about at the water cooler, you want me writing TV, you need me writing TV.  We use words like red herring, Space Needle, and “Yo Linden!”.  We use these words as the backbone of a life spent annoying the shit out of television viewers.  You use them as a punchline for your TV reviews.  I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to viewers who rise and sleep under the blanket of cable television and then question the manner in which I provide it.  I would rather you just said “Thank you” and bought the DVD box set.  Otherwise, I suggest you write your own damn TV show and get a pilot sold.  Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

The Viewer: Did Richmond murder Rosie?

The Killing: I did the job I….

The Viewer: DID RICHMOND MURDER ROSIE LARSEN?!?!

The Killing: WE HAVEN’T THOUGHT THAT FAR AHEAD!

And that’s pretty much exactly how I feel about it.  The writers wrote a premise and they didn’t write an ending so that’s why you get a new red herring every week and open-ended questions about who really killed Rosie.  Because those assholes that wrote the show didn’t even know.  And yet I sit here every week, knowing that I’ll watch season two because damn it, I want the truth.

I can handle it.

 

Follow me on Twitter and I’ll tell you who really killed Rosie Larsen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the Nineties: The Top 5 TGIF Sitcom Neighbors!

February 28, 2012 § 5 Comments

If my generation is your generation, then your childhood was captured in a photo that looks like this:

If someone asked you “Who raised you?” you might say something like “You know, the usual.  Mom, Dad, Miller, Boyett…”

We grew up in front of the television and then right around the age of eight, ABC started putting their best television on the air on Friday nights.  Thank God it is Friday, indeed.  It’s time for Perfect Strangers, Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, etc.  It’s funny how we can define certain eras in our life by television blocks; from TGIF to SNICK to Must See TV and to that 30 minutes on Public Access that you can’t believe they’re allowed to show, even if it is 1:30 AM!

In the late eighties, ABC started to go crazy with comedy blocks and after they had success with “Terrific Tuesday” they decided to expand to Fridays and created “The Friday Fun Club.”  You see, back then sitcoms were made for families and did not feature the adult themes that you normally see in sitcoms today.  Remember that?!  So it was normal to have your best shows on Fridays and Saturdays, and not re-runs of Jag or The Ghost Whisperer.  These days, Fridays and Saturdays are for the old folks.  Back then, it was about us!

In 1989, TGIF officially debuted with a couple of cartoon mice singing: “Time for fun (thank goodness!)/Time for a good laugh (it’s funny!)/Time, time, time, time for fun! (T-T-T-Time!)”  

Yeah, that’s pretty much 1989 in a nutshell for you.

The four shows airing in that 1989 block were Full House, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, and Just the Ten of Us.  These shows were about families and the wacky antics that families are so commonly known to get themselves into (two prom dates?!) but they were also about the company we keep.  They had friends and neighbors that often stole the show because while the core of your nuclear family had to be somewhat sane, your neighbors could be anything.  And as we know, your neighbors are often a little different because we’re forced into those relationships unlike most.

Perfect Strangers had no real neighbors of note because Larry and Balki were the crux of that show.  They appeared in almost 50 more episodes than any other character.  Just the Ten of Us… I hardly knew ye.  Still, here are the top five friends or neighbors from the TGIF shows that I do remember…

#5 – Monica Devertebrae, Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs was dreamed up by Jim Henson but he died before he could ever see it come to fruition.  A story of a family of dinosaurs known as the Sinclairs living in “60,000,003 BC” debuted on April 26, 1991 and ran on TGIF until 1993.  It’s not the most memorable show but I’m working with what I’ve got.  Monica Devertabrea was the neighbor and best friend of the Sinclair wife, Frances.  She had no memorable lines that I can think of but remember this: “I’m the baby!”

That was a big thing for awhile.

Monica was an Apatosaurus, which is commonly mis-referred to as a Brontosaurus.  If you ever see one of those old, purple-haired ladies with a pearl necklace, refer to her as an Apatosaurus.

Fun Fact: Stuart Pankin, who voiced the father Earl Sinclair, was recently in the Oscar-winning silent film, The Artist.

#4 – Shawn Hunter, Boy Meets World

Fact: Boy Meets World is a legitimately funny show that holds up much better over time than Family Matters ever will.  In watching re-runs on ABC Family when I was 25 younger, I found myself having actual laughs not at the show (as if it was Full House) but with the show.  The adventures of Cory, Shawn, Eric, Topanga, and Mr. Feeny were good even into their college years, giving it a much better send-off to advanced education than the Saved by the Bell crew.

Boy Meets World ran on TGIF from 1994-1999 and was the story of Fred Savage’s younger brother meeting the world and getting boners in class when he looked at Topanga.   Shawn was the best friend of Cory, and not really a neighbor but he sure felt like one seeing as how he was always at the house.  (Because he was basically homeless and his parents did not love him.)

Despite my genuine affection for the show, I rank Shawn 4th for several reasons:

  • He is played by Rider Strong.  What kind of a name is Rider Strong?  You can blame your parents (his fathers name is King) for that one!
  • I never liked the fact that he was supposed to be sort of the “bad influence, bad boy” to Cory and then all of a sudden turned into the biggest pussy on the show at other times.
  • Way too dramatic and serious.

I’ll give Shawn credit for being the first white young man on TV to have a black girlfriend, but otherwise the stars of the show were… all of the other main characters, including Matthew Lawrence!

3. Cody, Step by Step

In 1991, Miller and Boyett produced another mega-hit when they got this guy:

and this lady:

to get married and bring their wretched kids together because neither one of them wanted to do it on their own.  They fucking HATED raising their kids alone and they each had three.  It was like The Brady Bunch but totally different because it wasn’t that they each had boys or girls, because you see they each had boys AND girls.  So it was totally different.

You see Frank Lambert had a girl that was like a boy and Carol Foster-Lambert had a boy that acted like a little girl.  And then Frank had a boy named JT that was totally a guys guy and then Carol had a girl named Karen that was totally a girly-girl.  Then you had Dana the bitch and then Frank had another little boy that literally nobody remembers.  At this point comedy was merely a formality.

As if that wasn’t enough, Frank’s nephew Cody ended up moving into the backyard.  He lives in his van.  He promises he’s not going to rape anyone.  Per Wiki, here are Cody’s catchphrases:  “Dude!” “Dude-sy!” “No way!” and “Ch-yeah!”

Those catchphrases undoubtedly will go down in history as some of the greatest of all-time.

2. Steve Urkel, Family Matters

Miller-Boyett’s answer to The Cosby Show was a spin-off from Perfect Strangers that centered around The Winslows: Carl, Harriette (the last known Harriette), Eddie, Laura, and Judy.  But they soon realized that their show sucked and so mid-way through the first season they introduced the neighbor-boy Steve Urkel and nerdy black kids were officially created for the first time.  (You’re welcome Tyler, The Creator)

Urkel’s entire motivation in life was to bang Laura, even though she was a complete biotch to him.  He should have dropped her quick but 90s TV taught us that nerds love black chicks and then those black chicks are mean to nerds and then they’re still hopelessly in love for all time.  (Screech and Lisa)

Steve… you built a fucking time machine.  You also built a machine that changes people’s personalities.  You’re going to be richer than Zuckerberg, Gates, and Jobs combined.  Don’t trip on Laura f-ing Winslow, okay?  Get over it.

(And Screech, you built a robot.  An actual robot that communicates and seems to have feelings.  Get over Lisa Turtle.)

And to answer your question Urkel; Yes, you did that.  You actually fucking did that.  You built a jetpack that sent you all the way over to the Step by Step household and showed them how to do the Urkel.  You don’t need to be Stefan.  Stefan sucks.  These aren’t the kinds of lessons that we want to teach young geniuses.  If you do, I’ll never get an iPad 10 or a 4D television because every nerd that ever wanted to bang a “6″ will focus more on how to get her to fall in love with him than how to transcend the space-time continuum.  Get over it.

1. Kimmy Gibbler, Full House

The God damn dominator of TGIF was Full House, which ran from 1987 to 1995.  The show started with heartbreak when it opened on a family that was still getting over the death of the mother and then quickly turned to redemption when the sleazy, greasy uncle and the creepy, in-no-relation-to-the-family friend moved in and helped Danny Tanner raise his three little girls.  It was clear that Danny needed help raising three little girls when he… let those two help raise his little girls!

Still, they somehow made it work and everything turned out to be fine.  Though I still don’t condone Joey taking advantage of Danny in a time of need because he needed a place to stay because he was a shitty comedian.  Reason 1 that you are a broke, loser comedian: You work in San Francisco and never seem to do a show, ever.  Most comedians end up doing several shows a night, every night of the week, hoping to catch their big break.  GO DO SOME WORK JOEY!

Living next door to the Tanners (and the other two) were the Gibblers.  We never got to know any of the Gibblers except for one, D.J. Tanner’s best friend Kimmy.  She was always over at the house even though everyone seemed to literally hate her, including D.J.  I’m not even kidding when I say that the adults treated this pre-teen like she was a full-grown adult that could handle such severe bullying from a group of men.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Kimmy was one of the first cases of Cyber-Bullying, but she was strong enough to overcome it.

Gibbler didn’t follow trends, she set them:

Kimmy, you may have sucked at life, but you told it how it was.  You weren’t afraid to speak your mind and to call out Danny and Jesse on their shit when nobody else would.  You were constantly bullied for being a freak, but you didn’t let that change who you were.  Even to this day, there are people that still hate you and the bullying continues.  But I’m sure someone out there, you’re just letting it all slide off of your deformed, probably scoliosis-riddled back.  And for that, you have earned the #1 spot on this list.

Now go home, Kimmy.

You can follow me on Twitter, did you know that?

Breaking Bad Gives Us Answer To All Of Life’s Problems

January 20, 2012 § 21 Comments

Breaking Bad on AMC is already the best show on television.  Sorry Mad Men, but you’re slackin’ on your pimpin’ and you need to come back and claim the throne before the Game of Thrones.  (Rapping unintentional but welcome.)

AMC has done excellent work since Mad Men and Breaking Bad came onto the scene, though I believe that The Killing has proven without a doubt that they aren’t perfect.

What is perfect is Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and a man that should never be forgotten (or else I’ll break your bad) Bob Odenkirk as the best sleaze in TV history.  Gilligan has created a show so perfect, so unpredictable, that it doesn’t have to go any further than simply existing to be the best show there is today.

They took the concept of Nickelodeon’s You Can’t Do That On Television and expanded it into a one-hour drama in which it turns out you can do a lot of shit on television.  And I fucking love it.

But it does more than exist.  Breaking Bad has given us all one very important life lesson that seems to be gleaned over because we are too entranced by it’s amazingness to even notice that Gilligan has given us the answer to all of life’s problems.

What is that answer?

…..

Well…..

YOU GOT CANCER?

YOU NEED MONEY?

YOU LIKE SCIENCE?

YOU LOVE GUNS?

YOU MISS YOUR BOYFRIEND?

YOU’RE A DOUCHEBAG?

YOUR SON CAN’T WALK?

YOUR WIFE’S A BITCH?

YOU LIKE PARTIES?

YOU CAN’T DO SHIT BUT RING A BELL?

YOU LOVE CHICKEN?

YOU LIKE METH?

YOU LIKE TO KILL PEOPLE?

YOU GET HURT AND MISS WORK BUT IT WON’T HURT TO MISS WORK?

YOU A KINGPIN?

YOU LOVE TURTLES?

YOU LOVE ZOMBIES?

BUT YOU’RE CONFUSED?

Thanks Breaking Bad!

(This post was brought to you by a world without SOPA)

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