Category Archives: television

2 Broke Girls, S5E5 “And the Escape Room”: A TV Review

escaperoom

With “And the Escape Room” 2 Broke Girls continues its penchant for covering topics long after they first rose to relevance. That’s not to say that the concept of escape rooms has faded from the public consciousness [I’ve seen new ones popping up in downtown Toronto], only that they’re not exactly newsworthy anymore.

Having reviewed one such establishment for this blog, and having gone to other vastly better places since, I was actually excited to review this week’s installment of the show, primarily as an actual escape game. Things actually started out pretty well in that regard, too, with the diner staff [this entire scenario is a team-building exercise cooked up by Han, which is not an uncommon event] entering into an almost completely dark room. Over on the wall they see the following:

fiveminutes

Oleg didn’t recognize the man in the portrait, surprising no one.

With 26 light switches on the left the gang connect that number to letters in the alphabet. Han surmises that the right one might be “L”, for “light”, but Caroline more accurately suggests that it might be related to the equation Albert Einstein is most well-known for. They flick the fifth switch and the room is bathed in light. As mentioned, a promising start. Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S5E4 “And the Inside Out Situation”: A TV Review

insideout

As soon as I saw the promo pictures on the CBS website I began dreading this week’s episode of 2 Broke Girls. “And the Inside Out Situation” centres entirely around LGBT discrimination and political correctness, and let’s just say that the writers on this show have not exactly shown the tact of John Oliver and co. at Last Week Tonight or the biting satire of the South Park people.

From the very beginning things look rough, as the LGBT character they chose to put front and centre, I, introduces themselves:

“To be clear, I am neither he nor she, mister nor misses, male nor female. And the only part of me that is transitioning are my heels from day to evening. I am simply ‘I’. And I cannot be labelled. I am gender fluid.”

The issue with this is when the audience chooses [and/or is prompted] to laugh. After the first joke, the reference to heels, is a given. The second, on the other hand, comes right after I tells the two girls that they are gender fluid. Now this is a word that has garnered a good amount of negative connotations in the past few years, but that is problematic to say the least. Continue reading

Jessica Jones Was Good, But It Should Have Been Great

When I saw the trailer for Jessica Jones I immediately decided it was going to be my new favourite show… until I watched it.

A lot of elements in the trailer suggested that it would resemble Netflix’s Daredevil series, which made me really excited. My love for Daredevil was a slow burn. Unlike Evan (who regularly reviews comics, like Ms. Marvel, for the blog), I’m not a comic aficionado. For me to really invest in a comic-based series I have to actually like it as a stand-alone. I’m also not a fan of dark dramas. I get depressed enough from real life, so my first choice for TV is lighthearted comedy. When John (my husband) finally convinced me to watch Daredevil with him it was a really hard sell. I was critical of the lack of diversity, the lack of interesting roles for women (although this got better as the season progressed), and the general lack of lighting in most scenes. What finally won me over was some of the best fight choreography I’ve ever seen on TV, and writing so solid that some monologues actually gave me chills.

When I saw the trailer for Jessica Jones I thought it would only perfect the good thing Netflix had already started with Daredevil. Not only would we have a dark and thoughtful plot, but we would have a much more diverse cast and more nuanced relationships between female characters.

How could anything possibly go wrong?

Apparently several things could, and did, go wrong. I’ve outlined a couple of the most frustrating aspects of the series below.

It had mediocre fight scenes

I get that it’s hard to make things look super realistic when you have a 90 pound woman throwing men around like ragdolls. I also get that choreographing these scenes would have to reflect Jones’ extraordinary strength. But is that really an excuse for scenes to look like something straight out of the 70’s?

Generally speaking, the fight scenes in Jessica Jones felt lazy. There are so many other ways you could demonstrate super strength beyond just throwing people, but for both Jones, and often Luke Cage, throwing seemed to be the primary mode of defence.

I mean, wouldn’t punching them in the face just be easier? Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S5E2 “And the Gym and Juice”: A TV Review

gymjuice

A lot of the time, when I wish I had implemented a grading system into these reviews when I first started two years ago, it’s because I want to underscore how truly bad an episode was. Not this week. This week I wish that I was able to qualify how good 2 Broke Girls usually is so that I could give “And the Gym and Juice” an A.

And no, this isn’t a particularly groundbreaking twenty-something minutes of situation comedy, but it is exactly what it needs to be, which is to say that it’s funny. Just two episodes into their fifth season and 2 Broke Girls appears confident in allowing its titular characters to truly carry the show, and they do so in a truly admirable fashion. I’m not sure if there was a shake-up in the writers room, but whatever happened it has me generally looking forward to future installments of the show. Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S5E1 “And the Wrecking Ball”: A TV Review

wreckingball

Back like a bad rash, and this time on Thursday nights! That’s right, CBS has finally started airing the fifth season of 2 Broke Girls and not even the AV Club, who stopped reviewing the show midway through the second season, could ignore its momentous return to the television landscape.

When we last left our heroines at the culmination of Season 4 they were headed off to France for a much-needed vacation. More importantly, however, they realized they had been neglecting their dream of running their own cupcake business [mostly through apparel-related moneymaking schemes]. While they waited for their plane to begin taxiing down the runway Max turned to Caroline and confided:

“Well, partner, after all we’ve been through this year, whatever comes next I kinda feel ready for it.”

In this episode, scripted and directed by showrunner Michael Patrick King, we find that “whatever comes next” includes a rude tour guide who shares a name with yogourt [Dannon] and the threat of their little corner of Williamsburg being levelled to make way for an IMAX theatre. At least one of these two is a substantial hurdle to the success of their business, as the absence of a storefront would make selling cupcakes pretty difficult. Also the loss of the diner, ostensibly their primary source of income. Continue reading

Why A 2 Broke Girls Porn Parody Doesn’t Exist

First off, I’d like to apologize for how little this blog has gotten into the spirit of the spoo-oo-ookiest season of the year. Granted, Gordon wrote up another of his annual Halloween movie rec lists, but apart from that we haven’t really delved into the macabre at all. That’s why I figured that now was as good a time as any for the most terrifying topic among those that I’ve been meaning to cover: the existence of a 2 Broke Girls porn parody.

Now at the time of this writing a 2 Broke Girls porn parody does not, in fact, exist. Googling that search term mostly just brings up this video-

-which I have a problem with based on the fact that, hey, everyone knows that Han is Korean and Oleg is Ukrainian! I mean, do your research, people. My self-appointed role as the internet’s foremost 2 Broke Girls-ologist aside we should probably get to discussing exactly why that is. No, not why a 2 Broke Girls porn parody is needed [it’s not, also, you know why], but why one doesn’t exist.

I Did Actual Porn Parody Research For This 

I did not do an extensive amount of actual porn parody research for this, though. Wikipedia had 27 pages for the category “Pornographic parody films”, and of those I selected only three based on TV shows that I have at least a passing familiarity with, alongside one other. I’m going to be spotlighting them from oldest to newest in terms of the original program.

Seinfeld_XXXFirst up is Seinfeld: A XXX Parody, released in 2009 by porn film studio New Sensations. Here are the facts [all math cobbled together from information found on the shows’ respective Wikipedia pages]:

  • Seinfeld premiered in 1989 and concluded in 1998. It ran for a total of nine seasons.
  • The average Nielsen Rating over the course of all nine seasons was 17.7, meaning that on average 17.7% of all household with TVs watched this show live as it aired.
  • There was a gap of 11 years between the end of this show and the creation of its porn parody.
  • Having scanned the plot synopsis on Wikipedia I can assure you all that the porn parody does not have “Jorge” engage in any sexual acts on screen.

Continue reading

Hulu: The Greatest Argument For Piracy I’ve Ever Seen

I should probably state two things right off the bat, just to set the stage. The first is that editing anything, whether it be a weekly all-comics print publication or a blog that floats a measly few thousand views a week [not a humblebrag, I know what good site traffic is], is difficult. The second is that I consider fellow Culture War Reporter Gordon one of my best friends on this planet. It’s for those two reasons that I find covering the issue of piracy, of the copyright infringement variety, so harrowing.

In writing this post I forced myself to do my due diligence and read over my co-writer’s others two articles concerning the topic, and it was truly an ordeal. While in his first there are some fairly reasonable assertions like “Some People Will Never Buy” they’re coupled with others like “Anti-Piracy Hurts the Environment”, a point that ignores outlets like Netflix and other similar legal streaming services that harm God’s green earth just as much as The Pirate Bay. The second covered the “Vindication of Piracy” predicated on an article published by the BBC. All I have to say about that is . . . covered in the lengthy comment I left on that very post, if you’d like to check it out on your own.

As you should be able to tell based on how the above paragraphs are written, I feel very strongly about this. Which should make it particularly notable when I say that due to recent events in the past week I almost agree with Gordon.angrymanfist-2400px copy

And it’s all because of Hulu.

Hulu is the most compelling argument I have ever come across that piracy is both legitimate and possibly even necessary.

Now it’s going to look like I’m talking down to you, but I just want to make everything as clear as possible.

When we watch TV we are bombarded by commercials because the networks need money [as we all do] to survive. Some of that money makes its way to showrunners and the like, and the more successful their programs are the more money, ostensibly, the network will give them, because you want to spend money on that which makes you money. Hulu is an American streaming service that allowed you to watch TV shows the day after they aired, but had them accompanied by ads, for obvious aforementioned reasons. Continue reading