Category Archives: Television

Flashback Friday-Bar Rescue (2011-Present)

On the surface, working for yourself and opening your own business seems like the perfect antidote to the drudge of the 9-5 corporate world. But the reality is different than the image of the surface. Most businesses close within ten years of opening their doors.

The television show Bar Rescue (2011-Present) aims to change that. Based on the UK show of the same name, the premise of the show is to help the owners of failing bars keep their doors open. Hosted by Jon Taffer, owners turn to Taffer and his team to discover why their bar is failing and provide help to keep it open. The resolution often includes the firing of staff, changes of policy and alteration of the menu.

Though Bar Rescue is a reality show, it’s interesting. As a viewer, you root for the bar owner, hoping that they will heed Taffer’s advice and do everything they can to keep their establishment open. But, as the old saying goes, G-d helps those who helps themselves.

I recommend it.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Olivia Benson

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

I know that it is sounds cliche, but what does not kill you makes you stronger. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, this concept is personified by Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Conceived by rape, Benson was raised by an alcoholic single mother who abused her. As a police officer, she is sympathetic to the victims and hard as nails on the accused because of her past. She is also the yin to Elliot Stabler’s (Chris Meloni) yang, her first partner. Their good cop, bad cop chemistry was one of the keys to their success in catching the perpertrators.

But Benson has also had a few lumps along the way. William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber) is obsessed with her. He kidnaps her, tortures and nearly rapes her, but Benson is able to undo her bonds and defend herself. She also again nearly raped while undercover and was the unofficial foster mother of several children before adopting her son.

Like many women, Benson is delicately balancing motherhood and work. In her position as Lieutenant, she is often akin to a mother bear. She has to ensure that her squad does their jobs while occasionally dolling out tough love.

To sum it up: Olivia Benson has been through the ringer several times. While others might have crumbled under the emotional weight of the same experiences, Benson came out harder and stronger. Though she still bears the scars, she does not let them stop her.

As a character, Benson is an inspiration. In spite of what she has gone through, she continues to be strong for herself, her son and her squad. It is that strength had kept the SVU fanbase in raptures for twenty years and hopefully for many years to come.

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Throwback Thursday-Chopped Junior (2016-Present)

When it comes to certain professions, it takes years of hard work, grit and mistakes before one can call themselves a master of their craft.

The adults who compete on Chopped have years of experience in the kitchen. The children who compete on Chopped Junior may not have same amount of years in the kitchen. But they have the same drive, passion and want to succeed.

The premise of Chopped Junior is the same as it’s adult predecessor. Also hosted by Ted Allen, four young chefs must make three distinct meals within a short amount of time. One by one, the contestants are eliminated until one is named the winner and earns $10,000.

What I like about Chopped Junior is that even though the pressure is the same as it is for the adults, the kids are willing to help their fellow contestant. It shows, at least from my opinion, not only how talented and driven these kids are, but how open helping one another succeed.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Drawn Together (2004-2007)

Parody, when done well, can illuminate the reality of a world that is almost too perfect.

Drawn Together aired on Comedy Central from 2004-2007. A sort of animated The Real World, the characters come from different cartoon genres. There is the super hero, the Disney-esque Princess, the chiseled hero from an action cartoon, etc. But, the different between these characters and their stock character predecessors that audiences have gotten used to watching.

Though it only lasted three seasons, Drawn Together was perfection while it was on the air. It took the the cartoon characters that we know and love and turned them on the head. It was funny, slightly sarcastic and perfectly mocked the genre in which it is based on.

I recommend it.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Elliot Stabler

The new characters I will be reviewing are…the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When we arrive home after a long day of work, we want to be able to relax and leave work at the office. But for some, work sometimes bleeds into their home and personal life. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) is a New York City police officer who is assigned to the Special Victims Unit. Stabler is a husband, father and former Marine whose late father was also a police officer.

Though he has done well in his chosen profession, he has his moments. Particularly when he is in a mood, which can hinder what is considered to be the lawful method of receiving a confession from a suspect. This is where his partner, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), comes in. She is able to calm him down so they can proceed with the case and not create a hindrance when the accused is put on trial.

He has long simmering anger issues, which complicate both his home and work life. These anger issues eventually lead him to the decision to retire and focus on himself and his family.

To sum it up: We all have light and dark in us. We all have those moments when all of our emotions bleed together and we say and or do something that will later on require some sort of act of contrition. It takes a mature person to realize this and take the necessary steps to work on themselves.

As a character, Stable is fascinating. He is a devoted husband, father and police officer. But he also has a temper and unresolved emotional issues that sometimes complicate his life. It is the light and the dark, which from my perspective as both a fan and a writer, that is absolutely fascinating dichotomy to explore.

Though he stepped off the SVU stage nearly a decade ago, the fan base is drawn to this dichotomy that is Elliot Stabler.

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Throwback Thursday-The Pioneer Woman (2011-Present)

Cooking shows have been around for decades. But it takes a special TV chef to inspire his or her viewers.

The Pioneer Woman has aired on The Food Network since 2011. Hosted by Ree Drummond, the show is set in her kitchen and family ranch in Oklahoma. Drummond takes the viewer through the process of making various meals and introduces them to the ranching life that her family lives.

I’m not usually one who watches cooking shows. I usually watch them when I am home sick or spending a lazy weekend doing nothing but watching television. But, I do like The Pioneer Woman. She is warm, she is open and her recipes look tasty.

I recommend it.

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Bring the Funny Review

A good television competition/reality show has to be compelling, entertaining and above all, has to create the want in the audience to continue to watch and root for the contestants.

Last night, Bring the Funny premiered on NBC. Hosted by Amanda Seales, a variety of comedy acts present themselves to the audience and judges Kenan Thompson, Chrissy Teigen and Jeff Foxworthy. At the end of the episode, six of the acts are chosen to move forward and one will eventually win the competition.

Bring the Funny is genuinely funny and entertaining. Unlike other competition reality shows, this show feels unique, interesting and a real shot for the contestants.

I recommend it.

Bring the Funny airs on Tuesday nights on NBC at 10PM.

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Late Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Kate Lockley

Dearest readers, I apologize for the late post. The pull of Independence Day was just too strong.

On an administrative note, this will be the last character review post I write about the characters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The next group of characters I will be writing about are….you will have to come back next week and find out.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

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 Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is something to be said for a healthy dose of skepticism. It keeps us sane when the impossible happens and we need to process what has just happened.

On Angel, the skeptic is Detective Kate Lockley (Elizabeth Rohm). A member of the LAPD, she is ignorant of the supernatural world that exists around her. She meets Angel (David Boreanaz) while investigating a murder, thinking that he may be a potential suspect. But she doesn’t know that Angel is trying to find the killer. Her obsession with him as the killer grows the point in which she breaks into Angel Investigations and starts to search the site without a warrant. This leads to a scuffle with the real killer in which Angel saves her and Kate is able to give justice to the victim’s loved ones.

Angel is cleared of all charges and they become sort of partners. But Kate does not know that Angel is a vampire. When her father is killed by a vampire and she learns who he really is, Kate goes on a quest to rid Los Angeles of the supernatural. Then a resurrected Darla (Julie Benz) decides to drink her way through the denizens of Los Angeles. Believing that Angel is responsible for the murders, she goes to arrest him, but lets him go because she knows that she knows that he can stop this crime.

The skeptic becomes a believer to the nth degree, but her obsession gets her fired. She nearly dies from an overdose of pills and alcohol, but Angel arrives in the nick of time to revive her. Their relationship ends with the belief that there is someone watching over them and protecting them as they fight against the forces of evil.

To sum it up: Kate works as a character because she is the eyes of the audience. While the other characters are well versed in the supernatural world, Kate only knows of the non-supernatural world. Her exposure opens her eyes and eventually teaches her acceptance, which often comes after a few bumps and bruises. Viewers remember Kate because of this journey and her eventual understanding that there is often more than meets the eye.

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Flashback Friday-The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency (2006-2008)

To be a mentor is a wonderful thing. The hope is that the person you are mentoring will accomplish everything they hope to accomplish.

From 2006-2008, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency aired on the Oxygen network. Starring the self-proclaimed original supermodel Janice Dickinson, the show followed her as she opened her own modeling agency, hired would be models and clashed with her business producer Peter Hamm. The show also followed the models as they auditioned and went to work.

This show is the standard reality show. I watched while it was on the air. Looking back, I regret watching it. It was nothing more than free promotion for it’s star and her wannabe models.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday-Airline (2004-2005)

When we fly, we hope that the flight will be smooth and without complications. But hope often springs eternal, especially when it comes to the potentially long list of factors that can delay a flight.

Airline aired on A&E from 2004-2005. It told the story of Southwest Airlines passengers and staff at four different airports across the country. As is expected, there is drama, problems, frustrated passengers and employees just trying to do their jobs.

Among reality shows, Airline was unique. Instead of focusing on the personal life of celebrities or watching singles date and fight for their potential spouse, this program told the real story of real people. It was also raw and closer to the reality without the slickness and over-production that is the hallmark of this genre.

I recommend it.

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