Category Archives: Television

Flashback Friday-Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (2013-2018)

Expanding one’s world by traveling outside of their home and comfort zone is often the way that many of us grow and change.

Starting in 2013, the late chef and author Anthony Bourdain took viewers around the world in his CNN show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.  Instead of hitting the usual tourist spots, viewers followed Bourdain as he visited parts of the world that don’t often receive a lot of fanfare. During these travels, he would immerse himself in the culture of the people he was visiting and joined them for a meal.

Sadly, Anthony Bourdain took his own life earlier this year. The final season premiered in September, remembering the man who brought the world into living rooms of his viewers. What I loved about this show was that it introduced viewers to people and cultures that they might have ever been introduced to otherwise. To me at least, it was a reminder that at the end of the day, we are all human beings.

I recommend it.

 

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Mental Health, Television, TV Review

Timeless Character Review: Rufus Carlin

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Timeless. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the first two seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Timeless to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Every ship needs a captain and every crew needs a conscious. In Timeless, the captain of the Lifeboat is Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett). Rufus is an engineer and programmer who is assigned to pilot the time machine. He is also the conscious of the main trio of characters, due mostly to his skin color and the heavy reminder of racism in America. Rufus also dealt with betrayal when his mentor reveals that he was not kidnapped, he willingly joined up with the villain and made it look like a kidnapping.

But there is light in Rufus’s life. His relationship with girlfriend Jiya (Claudia Doumit) is going strong. They were colleagues before they got together, Rufus had a crush on Jiya for a long time, but was unable to give voice to his feelings.

To sum it up: When a character is the conscious of the story, he or she does not need to be 2D, dull or preachy. Rufus works as a character because though he is the conscious of the show, he is thoroughly human. As an audience member, we root for him when he stands up against racism, we love him when it comes to his relationship with Jiya and and we feel his pain when his mentor is revealed as a traitor. That is why Rufus Carlin stands out as a character.

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Filed under Character Review, History, Television

American Tantrum: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Archives Book Review

It is a Presidential tradition that every former President develops his own archives for future generations after he leaves office.

American Tantrum: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Archives, by Anthony Atamanuik and Neil Casey, is based on the Comedy Central program, The President Show.

The premise of the book is that the fictionalized version of you know who has decided to put his Presidential Archive together while he is still in office. The premise of the book is a series of satirical and fictional interviews and recordings taking the reader from his early days in Queens to his current position as President Of The United States.

 

Written in the same voice that Anthony Atamanuik uses on The President Show, this book is hilarious. It also helps the reader, at least from my perspective, to release any tension or anxiety they may have about you know who.

I recommend it.

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Will & Grace And The #MeToo Movement

Men using their power to use women for sex has existed for a millennia, if not longer.

Last week’s episode of Will & Grace addressed the #Metoo movement as only Will & Grace can.

In the episode, Grace (Debra Messing), is spending the day with her father, Martin (Robert Klein). While stopping at a restaurant, Grace reveals that she was sexually assaulted by a friend of her father’s whom she worked for in high school.

I loved this episode. Kudos to the writing team, Debra Messing and Robert Klein for addressing the issue of sexual assault in a way that hits home. The man who assaulted Grace is not a powerful politician or a movie mogul. He is simply an older man who thought that he had the right to sexually assault a teenage girl.

In the pantheon of Will & Grace episodes, this one is for the books. The writers could have hit the viewer over the head. But instead, they told the story of a young girl’s assault and how after it still affected her years after it happened.

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Filed under Feminism, Politics, Television

Late Flashback Friday- South Park (1997-Present)

An extreme comment from an adult can often cause controversy. An extreme comment from a child can often makes the adults stop and think.

South Park premiered in 1997 and has yet to leave the air. Airing on Comedy Central and created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the focus of the show is four foul-mouthed 4th graders living in fictional South Park, Colorado. Stan, Kyle, Eric and Kenny go on out there adventures. While going on these adventures, they come into contact with a variety of other characters who only add to the hilarious and sometimes contentious situations.

I’m not a huge fan of South Park, but I can appreciate show’s impact. It’s nice to see a television program take on cultural and political issues in a way that points out the hypocrisy without hitting the viewer over the head while making them laugh.

I recommend it.

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Timeless Character Review: Wyatt Logan

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Timeless. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the first two seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Timeless to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When one meets a member of the military, there is a certain expectation of who this person is. Especially if this person is male. On the battlefield, they are on the front lines, ready to fight. But when they return to civilian life, things are not as simple.

Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter) is the brawn of the time team. Before traveling through time to save American history, he was part of the Delta Force. When it comes to battle, Wyatt is in his element. He has no problem stepping in and using force to keep the Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) safe. But underneath that warrior shell is a deep personal loss that motivates Wyatt to fight.

Prior to joining the time team, Wyatt’s wife was murdered. He blamed himself and got lost in a haze of grief. Though he continued to put his marriage and his late wife on a pedestal, Wyatt revealed that their marriage was on shaky ground.

As Wyatt spent more time with Lucy and Rufus, he began to heal. He also fell in love with Lucy and she with him. But then, his wife was brought back to life and Wyatt was forced to make a choice. If that was not enough, his wife revealed that she worked for the enemy and everything in Wyatt’s world turned upside down once again.

To sum it up: Creating a character is about balance. Wyatt works as a character because he is both a bad ass soldier and a man dealing with complicated emotions. Both intertwine to create a character who is complicated, human and speaks to the audience.

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Filed under Character Review, History, Television

Throwback Thursday-Pawn Stars (2009-Present)

Pawn shops don’t always have the best reputation. But sometimes, it’s the only option when one needs money fast.

The History Channel show, Pawn Stars, premiered in 2009 and has yet to leave the air. Set in the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, the show follows Rick Harrison, his father Richard “Old Man” Harrison, his son Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison and employee Austin “Chumlee” Russell as they go about their job working at the pawn shop. Every episode, a customer will bring in something to sell or pawn. There is usually some haggling and if needed, bringing in an expert to confirm the price of the object. At this point, a deal is made or the customer walks out still carrying what they came in with.

Yes, Pawn Stars is a reality show. But, Pawn Stars is different. Not only does the viewer learn something about the object in question, but they also don’t feel brain dead by the end of the episode.

I recommend it.

 

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Filed under History, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Early Throwback Thursday-Halloween Edition-Halloweentown (1998)

The allure of having magical powers is an idea that human beings have been considering and writing about for eons. The question is, if these powers did exist, would they be used for evil or for good?

In the 1998 Disney television movie, Halloweentown, Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) is a young witch on the verge of her 13th birthday. But she must be trained by her 13th birthday or lose her powers. Marnie’s grandmother Aggie (the late Debbie Reynolds) is eager to step in as her granddaughter’s teacher. Aggie lives in Halloweentown and visits her family in the mortal world as often as she can. But this visit from Aggie is more than an ordinary visit. A dark force is threatening Halloweentown and it’s up to Marnie to stop it.

Even for a Disney channel television movie, it’s not bad. It has enough Halloween in it to make the kids watching jump out of their seat a little and the narrative has enough meat in it to entertain even the most skeptical of adults.

I recommend it.

Happy Halloween.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Too Little, Too Late Megyn Kelly

There is a shameful history of blackface in American culture.

Earlier this week, Megyn Kelly made some rather controversial comments in regards to blackface when it comes to dressing up for Halloween.

As of earlier today, her show is likely cancelled and her contract with NBC is likely to be nullified.

I am not African-American, but I am a part of a minority group. The pain of being stereotyped and dehumanized for someone else’s entertainment when you do not have the power to respond and/or protest is a feeling that I would wish on no one.

While I would not wish anyone to be fired from their job, in this case, I believe that cancelling the show and firing it’s star is the right way to go.  Racism and discrimination in 2018 should be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, Megyn Kelly’s comments proved that once again, both are alive and well in America.

 

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Filed under History, Politics, Television

Flashback Friday-My Super Sweet 16 (2005-2008)

For many young people, turning 16 is a birthday to remember. Some decide to have a simple celebration. Others decide to go out all out.

This is the premise of the MTV series, My Super Sweet 16 (2005-2008). Each episode focuses on one teenage boy or girl who is about to turn sixteen and have a blowout of a birthday party. Usually, the teen’s parents are well off financially and can pay for more than the average sweet sixteen. Viewers expected at least one tantrum from the birthday boy or girl, the demand for a celebrity to perform or wildly expensive outfits.

I think the perspective of the show depends on the individual who is watching the show. The teenager might watch with envy, wishing to have a birthday party as out there as the subject of the episode. The adult might roll their eyes, knowing that the youngsters on-screen do not know as much as they think they know.

Do I recommend it? Maybe, it depends on your age.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review