Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (2004-2006)

The reality television genre generates a variety of opinions, depending on whom one speaks to. It could be seen as a guilty pleasure and a reason to chill out after a long day of work or school. It could also be seen as brainless, trashy television that claims to be “reality”, but is actually as scripted as fictional programs.

Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County aired on MTV from 2004-2006. The prequel to The Hills (2006-2010), the the show followed a group high school students from Laguna Beach High School in California as they went through the normal teenage growing pains.

I hated this show. The kids who were the focus of the program were just a bunch of Caucasian, 1%-ers whose narratives were not as “real” as promised.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Throwback Thursday: Wild & Crazy Kids (1990-1992)

One of the joys of childhood is the freedom from inhibitions.

Wild & Crazy Kids aired on Nickelodeon from 1990-1992. Hosted by Omar Gooding, Donnie Jeffcoat, Annette Chavez (season 1), and Jessica Gaynes (seasons 2 and 3), the premise of the show was that two teams of kids would face each other in a series of physical challenges.

When I was growing up, this show was pure fun to watch. The creativity of the games and the enthusiasm of the participants radiated from the screen, almost daring the kids at home to take part themselves.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Throwback Thursday: The Legend of Zorro (2005)

In our capitalist, materialist based society, it is easy to forget those who are not as fortunate as we are. Sometimes, it falls upon a fictional hero to remind us of this fact.

Zorro has been a popular character for over a century. His story and his Robin Hood view of the world has inspired more than a few adaptations over the years.

Back in 1998, The Mask of Zorro was a box office hit. Six years later, the film’s sequel, The Legend of Zorro hit theaters. The narrative starts ten years after the previous film ended. Don Alejandro De La Vega (i.e. Zorro) (Antonio Banderas) and his wife Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) are happily married with a young son.

But work and his alter ego is starting to pull Alejandro away from home. Feeling dissatisfied with the status of her marriage, Elena leaves her husband. She finds companionship in the arms of Count Armand (Rufus Sewell). Alejandro is more than jealous of his wife’s new partner. He begins to suspect that Armand is part of a scheme to prevent California from becoming a part of the United States.

Compared to its predecessor, the reviews for this film are not good. In this case, I disagree with the reviewers. The Legend of Zorro is not the most intellectual film, but that’s ok. It is one of those movies that is just fun to watch and the perfect vehicle to step away from reality for a couple of hours.

I loved that Elena’s role in this film is expanded. More than just the pretty love interest, she is as badass as her husband. I also loved the casting of Rufus Sewell. He is one of those actors who has perfected the art of playing a villain.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: MTV’s The 70s House (2005)

Every generation, in their own way, looks back on the previous decades with questions and perhaps a wistful vision of fantasy.

MTV’s The 70’s House aired back in 2005.It was a cross between The Real World and a reality competition show. 12 members of the older millennial generation are taken back to the 1970’s. Any mention of anything modern is forbidden. The thrust of the competition is to see who (for the lack of a better term) can be the most 70’s.

As an older millennial, I understand the fascination of the 70’s. But this was a niche program, in terms of both the network it aired on and the program itself. It was ok to watch 15 years ago, but I wouldn’t watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: Ghost Town (2008)

Since the beginning of humanity, we have wondered what happens when we die. This curiosity has opened the door for to creative answers to this very interesting and deep question.

Back in 2008, Ricky Gervais starred as Bertram Pincus in the movie Ghost Town. Living in New York City, Bertram’s social skills are lacking, to say the least. Then he dies suddenly, only to be revived seven minutes later. His return to the living is coupled with the new ability to see and speak to those who have passed.

The problem is that the ghosts he is now seeing all need something from him. Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) is one of the dead who Bertram is in communication with. Frank wants him to stop his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni) from re-marrying.

The score on Rotten Tomatoes for this movie is 85. Personally, I don’t get it. The narrative is standard for a rom-com, but Gervais is far from my favorite actor.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday: Brother Vs. Brother (2013-Present)

Sibling rivalry is for many, part and parcel, part of the growing up experience.

Since 2013, Brother Vs. Brother has aired on HGTV. In the series, Drew and Jonathan Scott each buy and flip a rundown home. At the end of the season, the winner is the one whose newly renovated property sells for the highest purchase price.

Among the catalog of shows starring the Scott brothers, this is five out of ten for me. It’s fine and entertaining, but I can’t say that it is appointment television.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: Tales from the Royal Bedchamber (2013)

Sex is one of the core components of being human. But sex, like all things related to being human, is complicated.

Tales from the Royal Bedchamber aired on PBS back in 2013. Hosted by historian Lucy Worsley, the documentary takes viewers into the personal and romantic lives of the monarchy. Entangled into the story are concerns about family, children, and the next generation of royals.

I enjoyed this documentary. It could have easily been a dry history lesson talking about kings, queens, and their successors. But Worsley has a way of making history come alive while showing the humanity of the film’s subjects.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday: The Weakest Link (2001-2003)

If you watch enough television, you know what to expect when watching a game show.

Between 2001 and 2003, The Weakest Link changed all that. Imported from Britain and hosted by Anne Robinson, the format of the program is as follows: a group of contestants answer a series of random trivia questions. Along the way, they earn money that will eventually become a cash prize. After each round, each contestant is eliminated until one is announced as the winner.

Though it only ran in the States for two years, it was a great two years. From my perspective, there are two reasons why it was successful. The first was adding a Survivor like competition to what we think of the traditional television game show. The other is Anne Robinson. When we think of a game show host, we usually think of a man who is charming and amiable. Robinson, on the other hand, was a woman who was not above cutting down one of the players with a snarky insult.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

P.S. The current reboot with Jane Lynch as host is worth watching.

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Throwback Thursday: Open House NYC (2007-Present)

For many of us, real estate is a game of what if.

Open House, hosted by Sara Gore, has aired since 2007. On the show, the audience is taken into the homes of the rich and famous. In addition to being the television equivalent of shopping for a new home, the program is also used to showcase the design choices of the homeowners.

Airing on Sunday morning, I feel like this is one of those show that at best serves as background noise and at worst, is the reason the TV is off for a little bit. I sometimes watch it, but I can’t say that I do with regularity or with a sense of eagerness.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday-Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-1999)

The legend of Hercules has been around for thousands of years. The son of a mortal woman and the king of the G-ds, he has abilities that few have. He also has enemies who would love to take him down for good.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys aired from 1995-1999. The show starred Kevin Sorbo was the title character and Michael Hurst as his best friend/traveling companion Iolaus. Together, they saved countless humans from vengeful g-ds and creatures that can only be found in the darkest reaches of the imagination.

Back in the day, I was a fan of this program. It was one of those shows that is very (and I mean very in every sense of the word), genre specific. As an action/fantasy program, it was entertaining and opened the door for the genre for the next ten years or so. Would it watch if it was on today? Maybe, but only for nostalgia sake.

Do I recommend it? Yes, sort of (if that makes sense).

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