Tag Archives: scrubs

2 Broke Girls, S3E21 “And the Wedding Cake Cake Cake”: A TV Review

cakecakecake

I had written this entire intro prior to watching this episode about how we should probably start readying ourselves to bid Deke adieu. The show had been moving towards him and Max breaking it off with no hope of reconciliation for some time. That and the fact that Eric Andre’s joining FX’s upcoming comedy Man Seeking Woman as one of the main cast. Altogether it seemed to point towards us not having much longer to enjoy the presence of one of my favourite Blewish [that’s half-Black half-Jewish] comedians.

This is literally the last time I’m going to bring up the rom-com narrative style that has permeated the show basically ever since Deke showed up [first mentioned back in Episode 13]. He and Max have had their ups and downs, but it all came to a head last week when his parents decided to cut him off completely. When last we saw our heroines they were on a mission to push Deke’s dumpster house clear across the city in order to reconcile him with his folks, trading his relationship with Max for financial stability and overall a better life. Continue reading

Advertisements

Evan and Gordon Talk: Sitcoms

GORDON: Ladies and Gentlemen! It’s the Evan and Gordon Show!

<Theme Music>

Starring:

Evan as Evan!

Michael Fassbender as Gordon Brown!

The closest this man will ever resemble me was when he lost 30 lbs to play a prisoner who died on hunger strike….

And guest starring . . .

Gordon’s inflated ego!

ego
EVAN:
 This is why I don’t like it when you do intros. Continue reading

What Happened to Reading?

Now I know that there’s a certain degree of irony attached to this post. Just now you read my question on why people don’t read anymore. I’m not really talking about reading in the the sense of skimming the occasional article online, though. Before anyone tries to point it out- yeah, I’m aware that the medium for communication has shifted a lot since video is now accessible to pretty much everyone.

I’m talking about books, people. When did we stop reading books?

I would go bankrupt buying books with gifs for illustrations…

I can’t count how many times I’ve been reading a book in public and people act as if I’ve started cleaning a black-powder musket.

Continue reading

Fame Day: Court TV

I and TV often find ourselves at odds. More often than not, what you get on television is hours upon hours of sensationalist news, vile game shows, and talk shows that swing between glorified bum-fights and thinly veiled infomercials. Sure, every once in a while you can find quality along the lines of Arrested Development or Ugly Americans or Scrubs or whatever wildly popular and inventive new show that NBC will cancel because **** you, but for the most part there are plenty more weeds out there than roses.

However, one such exception to the norm is- believe it or not- Court TV.

That’s right, Court TV.  Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, Judge Milian, and so on.

Now you might be trying to wrap your heads around why on earth these shows are any good, but that’s probably because of the general skepticism you have about daytime TV (and not without just cause). Think about it. Really think about it. What do we see on this show? Glamorization? Perhaps, but for all the strange cases that show up, the majority of them seem nevertheless perfectly plausible. And that brings us to the second point: sympathy. Who among us can say we haven’t had a situation, or haven’t known someone who had a situation, which would constitute a conflict without going so far as to be criminal? Who hasn’t had some petty yet long-running dispute with a neighbor? Who hasn’t had some tiff about splitting up a dead relative’s possessions? Again, Court TV has it all, and what’s more, shows the real-life consequences of all this (usual) pettiness and greed. We actually get to see some positive arbitration, and get educated on not only our explicit laws, but our social contract, our culture, and our state as human beings in general. However hyped up it might be played, the “hollywoodization” of the shows still can’t rob them of their core essence, which is genuinely interesting and relatable conflicts and the ways we resolve ’em.

I’m not saying you don’t have better things you could be doing with your time, but if you’re gonna be watching TV, there’s plenty worse to watch than this.

And just one last note. I understand that “Court TV” also used to be the title of the TV channel now called “TruTV”. Obviously what I’m talking about and that are two unrelated things. Just a heads up.

Good Show! (Or, What’s Wrong With The Simpsons)

Over the past couple days, actors Donald Faison and Zach Braff have been campaigning for Obama here in Vegas. While I’m not a fan of their political stance, I freaking love Scrubs and have been re-watching the show for what must now be about the ninety-billionth time.

It got me thinking about a discussion Evan and I had a while back, in which we concluded after some debate that Scrubs is the best show of all time.

Ok, that’s not going to mean anything to you if you haven’t actually seen Scrubs. If you haven’t, go watch it now.

Now think about it- has there been a bad episode of Scrubs? Has there ever been an even sub-par episode of Scrubs?

There really hasn’t. Not every episode is fun to watch (it’s a hospital- you can’t expect them not to deal with mortality and whatnot)- some episodes are downright depressing and tragic. Even so, there show never fails to have some substance to it and (and this is the big thing) never really diminishes in quality despite having been on air for eight seasons (nobody counts the ninth as cannon).

But more on that in a minute…

See, what makes Scrubs so consistently good isn’t that it’s funny- it is funny, but not every episode, and not every joke in the funny episodes will have you on the floor.

Though most will…

It’s that it’s consistent all the way through. The characters develop, certainly, but they never really shift dramatically or break away from who they were a season ago. JD is always JD, Turk is always Turk, and so on. The wacky, exaggerated universe of the show never strays too much into total realism or too far off into surrealism. In short, and episode seen in the last season of Scrubs is about the same (extremely high) quality that the initial episodes are.

Now I know you’re all saying, “But Gordon, you ruggedly handsome bastion of logic and truth, surely consistency isn’t all there is to it!”, and yes, it’s not just consistency that makes a show good. Comedies need to be funny, dramas need to be agonizing, and so on- nevertheless, these things are dwarfed when it comes to consistency- let me give you an example of this done wrong.

Community. I remember seeing ads for it in my first year of college and thinking “Neat- a show about college. Something I and my demographic can all relate to and get a kick out of. This looks like it’s gonna be good”.

And it was.

(Barring that they had an Indian guy playing an Arab kid because apparently all brown people are the same…)

Really good. In fact, the first season of Community is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in the couple decades I’ve been alive. But what proceeded the glorious first season was one of the fastest and ugliest burnouts in television history.

You remember how Abed was socially-challenged but ultimately human in his attempts to relate to people and make is father (also played by an Indian actor) proud? Remember how Jeff wanted to get his degree and regain control over his life? Remember how Troy was trying to deal with the loss of his status? How Annie was trying to reinvent herself?

Yeah, all of that went down the toilet in the subsequent season. The motivations that gave the episodes conflict and helped progress the characters and the story as a whole were more or less dropped, and the little quirks that made the characters funny and interested got so blown up that they became the only aspect of the characters. Abed went from movie-geek to schizoid mess, Jeff became charming (and nothing else), Troy became just Abed’s buddy, and Annie was just the sweet naive straight-man (more or less) to the rest of the group. On top of becoming gross caricatures of their former selves, the show stopped dealing with college (which you might recall as being the reason so many people started watching the first place) and became centered entirely on the clownish escapades of the group. Granted, every once in a while you got good episodes, but never on the same level as the first season. Every time I sat down to watch Community the smile faded from my face and I could react in no other way but this:

“But Gordon, you roguish fountain of delight, isn’t this more a warning against being madcap than straying from the characters and story?”

I’d have to concede that, if it weren’t for such shows as South Park and American Dad. Both of these shows have been from their inception pretty surreal, nonsensical, and all-around crazy. Yet both shows have maintained that same level of craziness and remain (more or less) as popular now as when they started.

I admit, these shows are not for everyone…

Again, an excellent example of how shows drifting away from their original material kills them would perhaps the most iconic animated show of all time: The Simpsons.

My old roommate never saw the early Simpsons, and is to this day convinced that the show is side-splitting in its hilarity. And he’s probably right- I stopped watching the Simpsons after my first year of college- I got tired of having my heart broken.

Perhaps it’s best encapsulated in this quote by Lisa Simpson back in Season 2:

I heard you last night, Bart. You prayed for this. Now your prayers have been answered. I’m no theologian. I don’t know who or what God is exactly. All I know is he’s a force more powerful than Mom and Dad put together and you owe him big.

Would you ever hear that from Lisa in one of the later seasons? You would not. Why? Because Lisa has moved from being a brilliantly smart little girl to a pointy-haired midget channeling the whiny liberal indignation of Bill Maher.
Is there anything wrong with Lisa as she is today? Not really, no. If that’s who her character is, then that’s who her character is- only the hitch here is that’s not who Lisa started off as. Had Lisa started off as the yellow counterpart of Brian Griffin, then I wouldn’t have any problem. Had Homer started off as a food-crazed buffoon or Marge as a simple housewife, I’d probably still watch the show. Again, it’s the gradual change from one thing to another that’s responsible for people drifting away from the series. It’s not that shows go stale (not that staleness can’t be a problem- just look at the Gilligan’s Island episode where they’re almost rescued), it’s that they change too much.

And hey, with our ever-shortening attention spans and our rapidly changing culture, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Bad Influence

Last night, I watched Brideshead Revisited, and let me tell you, it is one festering pile of garbage.

Seriously, **** this movie…

Now before anyone launches into a tirade- yes, I am aware that Brideshead was originally a novel and, from what a lot of critics have said, one that was infinitely better than the movie, the later of which reduced all of the author’s points on culture, religion, and relationships to a couple hours of pretty set design and not much else. Simple fact of the matter is Everyone Poops could have been adapted for the big screen and still have been better than this confusing mess.

Michael Bay was going to, but the book was too cerebral for him…

Look- I can’t speak to either the novel or the author. People who have read the book say it was better than the film, and while I have difficulty believing that, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m not hear to address that- I’m here to address the fact that someone at some point did actually think that what they presented in the movie was somehow not only worth watching, but worth paying for.

It aint- in case you haven’t gotten that message yet…

I’m not a fan of British period-pieces; if I wanted to see eloquent people with miserable lives, I’d talk to English majors.

What we have in this movie is a group of extremely rich youngsters lounging about an elegant mansion, downing enough alcohol to make newyears in Vegas look like a Baptist ice-cream social, and whine and wail for over half an hour about how miserable their lives are. Not in any existentialist sense, mind you- these characters aren’t disillusioned with luxury, they’re just frustrated that they can’t have everything that they want when they want it the way they want it. This is essentially Walden without any redeeming qualities- just pasty, entitled brats with delusions of insight, giving trailing speeches about their long “suffering”.

And I’m not bringing this up just because one movie sucked- this seems to be part of a greater problem in our culture. I’ve seen the same kind of problem in the film I Love You, Man.

Back in college, my housemates loved this movie. Suggested it every movie night just to see me shiver with horror and disgust. In case you’re not familiar with the plot line, let me break it down for you:

Peter’s getting married. Peter simply doesn’t have any guy friends outside of his brother (played by Andy Samberg, who was the only good part of the movie), and he one night overhears his fiancee’s vile, harpy collection of friends gossiping that it’s weird Peter’s not going to have a best man at his wedding. Peter, who apparently bases his self-esteem on the idle chatter of obnoxious strangers is filled with self-doubt and embarks on a quest to get himself a male friend- because, you know, what will his future wife’s evil friends think of him if he doesn’t?

If you’re trying to jump through the screen, grab this guy, and slap him across the face while screaming quotes from Nietzsche- don’t worry, that was my first reaction too. How we’re supposed to sympathize with this self-pitying sadsack is beyond me- the guy makes Ted from Scrubs look like Teddy Roosevelt by comparison.

I’m not trying to say that every character in a movie- or even every main character- has to be someone admirable. Just look at American Psycho. I’m not saying that these characters have to be ultimately successful. Just look at Goodfellas or The Godfather trilogy. I’m not saying that the characters have fit a classic/stereotypical form of “manliness” (in the case of male characters, anyways)- just look at Zombieland, Superbad, Napoleon Dynamite, or Scott Pilgrim vs the World.

Between movies like Brideshead Revisited, I Love You, Man, and pretty much every romance movie that ever has or ever will be made, there’s this common attitude of entitlement, self-pity, and melodrama.

Ok, you could kill yourself or- OR– spend some time working at a homeless shelter, petition on behalf of political prisoners, overthrow corrupt dictatorships since you are, y’know, immortal…
Just say’n…

Now I know you must all be saying “But Gordon, you charming devil- what’s the big deal? So what if a section of film is dominated by this lousy message of egocentricity, ignorance, and impotence?”

Let me show what the big deal is.

See this guy here? This is goth shock-rocker Marilyn Manson. If you’re not a fan, chances are you’ve still heard of him- in the days that followed the Columbine Shootings, Manson was argued by many conservative and religious critics as having been responsible for influencing the shooters. And obviously, that’s just a single example- whether it’s true or not, we’re all familiar with the outcry against violence in the media- be it anything from video games (see any GTA game) to music (Wu-Tang Clan aint nothin’ to fornicate with) to movies (just take your pick).

Let’s assume, just for a minute, that this is all true. I’m going to discuss the whole “does-violence-in-media-cause-more-violence?” question later in the week, but for now, let’s just say that the answer is “yes”. If these things have a serious negative effect on the views- especially young viewers- and deserve to be censored or even banned on that logic, surely the same can be said for the equally detrimental attitudes and actions (or lack thereof) found in movies like Brideshead Revisited and the like. What do these things teach us?

I was going to say “Stalking and manipulative relationships are romantic”, but I really didn’t have the stomach to slog through countless Twilight posters looking for Edward crouched in the window- enjoy this picture instead…

Again- the problem isn’t with romance as a concept or a plot device or anything like that. I’m not a sensitive guy in even the loosest use of the word, but despite my callousness, I really don’t have a problem with romance- it’s just that romance, as a genre, tends to produce these awful, reprehensibly selfish attitudes, and at the same time make the actual relationships pretty dumb as well. Though no one is ever going to admit it, couples like House and Cuddy or Scully and Mulder are both more believable, moving, and inspiring at their worst moments than any Romance film couple at their best.

Obligatory “Still a Better Love Story Than Twilight”…

What else can I say? Romance movies, and indeed, all media that promotes this whiny, entitled message seems to be just as harmful- if not more- than the bloodiest action flick or the most violent rap or rock. I’d be just as worried about the effects of such media on young minds as I am about the most car-stealing-liest-prostitute-beating-iest video game ever made. Allow me to leave you with this brilliant tweet from comedian Dave Chapelle to drive my point home.