Category Archives: Television

Flashback Friday-Undercover Boss (2010-2016)

Unless you walk a mile in another person’s shoes, it is impossible to understand their point of view.

Undercover Boss aired on CBS from 2010-2016. Based on the British series of the same name, the show follows either a company owner or a high-level manager as they go undercover as an entry-level employee. After a week of going undercover, the boss reveals who they really are. At the conclusion of the episode, changes to the company are put in place or individual employees are rewarded for their hard work.

What I like about this show is that it highlights how difficult work is and how important it is to be recognized for doing your job well. Granted, it is a reality show. But there is something to be said when employees are respected and appreciated for the work they do.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Katriona “Kat” Tamin

*This will be my last character review for Law & Order SVU. The next group of characters I will be reviewing is….you will have to come back next week.

*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 of 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.

There is a certain advantage to being the youngest and the newest employee. Unlike an employee who is experienced both in the job and within the company, this new employee may have an energy and an enthusiasm that overtakes their lack of experience.

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the new detective on the squad is Katriona “Kat” Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). A transfer from Vice, Kat is young, eager and takes her job seriously. Her first case is going undercover as a young actress who is nearly assaulted by Tobias Moore (Ian McShane).

As dedicated as she is to her job, she understands that a little delicacy is sometimes needed. When a transgender woman comes forward with a rape accusation, Kat gently pushes the victim to provide the information needed to close the case.

To sum it up: To be young and enthusiastic about work is a unique experience that only comes during a certain time in our lives. Though we may become dejected or cynical later in life, it is this time that teaches us about the workplace. As a character, Kat stands out because of her youth, her energy and her dedication to her job. It is a lesson about work that should not fade, regardless of how long we are in the working world.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Throwback Thursday-Batman: The Movie (1966)

Batman has been part of our popular culture since his introduction to the public in the late 1930’s. Every generation, in its own way, has reinterpreted the Batman story to fit their era.

In 1966 Batman: The Movie was released. A spinoff of the television series, it is another fight against those would happily destroy the world as it exists. Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) must find a way to stop the United Underworld from holding humanity ransom via humans that have been turned into crystals.

Like the television show, it’s out there, to say the least. It is colorful, over the top and much lighter than the more recent adaptations of the Batman story. However, given the period, this film fits right in and has a sense of humor that later adaptations do not.

Do I recommend it? Why not?

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Television, Throwback Thursday

I Love My Red Hair

When you’re a kid, you want to fit in. The last thing you want is to stick out like a sore thumb. When you’re a redhead, you stick out whether you like it or not.

Though I am proud of my red hair now, there were many times as a kid that I wished that my hair was another color. It took many years and a lot of work, but at nearly 40, I have come to love my hair.

Today is National Redhead Day. Thanks to this day, How to be a Redhead and three of the characters below (which is a short version of a very long list), I appreciate my hair in ways that I did not in the past.

Zelena-Once Upon a Time (Rebecca Mader)

Zelena is a redheaded badass because she knows what she wants and she goes after it. Though she may not (at least in the beginning) care that she is hurting others, it is her confidence and her one-liners that makes me proud to be a redhead.

MeraAquaman (Amber Heard)

Mera is a queen in every sense of the word. But instead of being the standard female royal who waits for things to happen (i.e. rescued from the big bad), Mera takes charge of her own life. She is also unafraid to stand up for what is right, even if that means going into battle.

Demelza PoldarkPoldark (Eleanor Tomlinson)

It takes a strong woman to be true to herself in an era when a woman is supposed to be meek, mild and subservient to her husband. Demelza Poldark (nee Carne) may have been born a miner’s daughter, but she has not forgotten who she is. Though she is a member of the upper class through her marriage, Demelza is still a tough as nails working-class girl who is intelligent and more than capable of standing on her own two feet.

I am going to end this post with a quote for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. It’s time to not care what others think and embrace who we are.

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”-Dr. Seuss

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies, Once Upon A Time, Poldark, Television

Law & :Order SVU Character Review: Casey Novak

*I apologize about the late post. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way last night.

*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 of 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.

For many of us, the first few years in our careers can be defining years. They can also be challenging, forcing us to submit to the idea that the reality of our job does not match what we thought it would be. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Casey Novak (Diane Neal) is one of the many District Attorneys who assist the SVU team with putting away criminals. Young, ambitious and serious about her job, Casey keeps her emotions and her private life to herself.

Her job would be simple if she worked for another unit within the NYPD. However, she works with SVU, where the crimes are often physically and emotionally messy. This leads Casey to lean on the steady and reliable law, especially when the case she is trying verges into a morally grey area.

Though she tries to keep her emotions and private life separate from her work, both inevitably bleed into her work. A previous relationship with a mentally ill ex-boyfriend nearly cost her life and affected her judgment when she purposely sabotaged a case involving a schizophrenic child rapist.

Though her work ethic is admired by the SVU detectives and her supervisor, her zeal nearly ruins the professional relationships with her colleagues. But in the end, there is a mutual respect that develops from her drive and her ability to open emotionally to her colleagues.

To sum it up: It takes courage and time to come out of one’s shell, especially in the workplace. But Casey does it in a way that does not feel forced or unnatural. She remains dedicated to her work, but she also bonds with her colleagues in a way that allows them all to do their jobs. That is why, as a character, Casey Novak stands out.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Mental Health, New York City, Television

Flashback Friday-Legends of the Hidden Temple (1993-1995)

TV game shows have existed since the beginning of television. But it takes a unique program to stand out within the genre.

Legends of the Hidden Temple aired on Nickelodeon from 1993-1995 and was hosted by Kirk Fogg. The premise of the show was that there was a fictional Mayan temple filled with gold, jewels, and other treasures. Guarded by Olmec (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), the young contestants were challenged by physical and academic challenges relating to history, geography, and mythology.

As I remember it, Legends of the Hidden Temple was fun to watch. It would have been easy to create another game show that is made up of just physical or academic challenges. But in combining both and adding an Indiana Jones sensibility, this program was able to stand out for the two years that it was on the air.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Television, TV Review

Throwback Thursday-Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989-1993)

Being a teenager is hard enough. But adding something else to that plate makes life twice as hard and twice as interesting.

Doogie Howser, M.D. was on the air from 1989-1993. Doogie Howser (Neil Patrick Harris) is much more than the average teenage boy. He has the academic intellect of someone far older than he. This leads him to an early career in medicine. While delving in the adult world of medicine, he is also dealing with the emotional pitfalls of being a teenager.

This show, as I remember it, was interesting. The basic premise of the program is a fish out of water story meets a coming of age tale. Though the program is very much a part of its time, there is also a universal quality to the narrative.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era Book Review

When you get to a certain age, your friends become your family. For ten years, the television show Friends reflected that time in our lives.

Back in September, pop culture historian Saul Austerlitz published his latest book, Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era. The book takes readers and fans behind the scenes from the conception of the show to height of its popularity and ends by reflecting on it’s legacy as a modern American sitcom. Containing interviews with the cast, the creative team and the crew, this book is one that Friends fans will want to read.

This book is well written. However, it is not for the casual Friends fan or someone who only knows of the show in passing. This book is for the superfan who has seen every episode, can quote every line and knows everything that there is to know about this program.

I would like to say that I loved this book. But I can’t. I felt like there were moments that the author was only writing for the superfan. As a casual fan, I felt like the author was not writing to or for me, which nearly led me to put the book down without finishing it.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Television

Late Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Brian Cassidy

*I apologize for the delay, life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*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.

Finding one’s path in life is not easy. It requires one to take chances, not knowing if your going in the right direction or you have taken a mis-step. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) is just trying to find his way. Like many who are trying to find their way, he makes a few mistakes.

Cassidy is one of the younger members of the SVU squad. Though he is dedicated to his job, he has a long way to go before he is the ideal SVU detective. The gravity of the cases he works on often stretches him emotionally, sometimes forcing him to react inappropriately. It takes his older and experienced partner, John Munch (Richard Belzer), to calm him down and teach him to become a better detective.

If the pressure of work was not enough, Cassidy’s long time crush and one night stand with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) does not end well. This leads to an explosion in which he realizes that working as an SVU detective is not the right path for him and asks for a transfer.

But this is not the end of Cassidy’s time with SVU. He comes back 12 years after the transfer and nearly sends his former boss, Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) to prison for prostitution. He also starts dating Olivia secretly and it seems like everything is settling down. But then an accusation by another prostitute forces Cassidy to take stock of his life and reveal his secret relationship with Olivia.

The next time we see Cassidy, he and Olivia realize that they are different people and they break up. Later, Cassidy accuses Olivia abusing her adopted son, Noah. When it is revealed why he made the accusation, Olivia says that she never wants to see him again.

The last time we see Cassidy, he is in court, facing the man who abused him as a child.

To sum it up: Life is never a straight path. It is a series of curves with potholes, brick walls and challenges, forcing us to adapt and change. Like all of us, Brian Cassidy has to adapt. Though it is not easy, he does and finds the strength that he didn’t know he had.

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Flashback Friday-Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School (2007)

In the world of reality television shows, a spin off is common place. The question is, if the spin off, like any sequel is worthy of it’s predecessor?

In 2007, Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School premiered on VH1. A spin off of Flavor of Love, the show was hosted by Mo’Nique. The purpose of the program was to teach etiquette to the female contestants from the two seasons of Flavor of Love. The winner would walk away with $50,000 and the title of Charm School Queen.

I have to admit that I am a former reality show addict. I didn’t watch every show, but this one I did watch. Though it had some appeal at the time, at the end of the day, it was just another reality show.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Music, Television, TV Review