Category Archives: TV Review

Dirty Rotten Cleaners Review

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find cleaning my home to be a chore that I would do without if I could. But it has to be done, so I just suck it up and get it done.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners premiered on A&E last year. This reality show follows two different cleaning companies in Florida as they clean the properties of their customers. Their task is more much than the standard clean. Many of these houses are filthy, filled to the brim with junk, and covered in mold.

What I like is that unlike other programs within the reality television genre, the truth about this job is not glossed over. It is genuinely gross and dangerous. Similar to its’ sister show, Hoarders, the clients are not used for a laugh or pushed into a stereotype. They are merely the patrons who need their properties cleaned.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners is available for streaming on Hulu.

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Throwback Thursday: Hang Time (1995-2000)

Everyone has that one thing in high school that defines those years and that experience. It could be sports, music, art, etc.

Hang Time aired on NBC from 1995-2000. This high school sitcom followed the lives of seven members of a high school basketball team at fictional Deering High School.

In short, this show was Saved by the Bell on the basketball court. Other than the sports angle, the only thing that made this show stand out was that the team consisted of both male and female players. I can recall watching an episode or two, but I was not a regular viewer. Obviously, there was enough of an audience to keep the series on the air for five years. I was not among them.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday: Celebrity Deathmatch (1998-2001, 2006-2007)

My favorite thing about satire is that it is a type of comedy that knows no bounds. It can take any form and mock any subject or narrative.

Celebrity Deathmatch aired originally on MTV from 1998 to 2001 and then from 2006 to 2007. The program satirized sports entertainment (i.e. wrestling). Using claymation, various celebrities were put into the wrestling ring, resulting in injuries that can only be described as gruesome and over the top.

Warning: the images may be too adult for some viewers.

What we also have to remember about satire is that what is funny to one person is not funny to another. I do remember when the show was on the air, but it was not for me then and it is not for me now.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Becoming Elizabeth Review

I find the origin stories of famous historical figures to be fascinating. Knowing who they were before allows us to understand them as fully formed human beings, not just names in a textbook.

The new Starz series, Becoming Elizabeth, is the origin story of Elizabeth I of England. Then known as Elizabeth Tudor (Alicia von Rittberg), her world turns upside when her father, Henry VIII dies. Though it is her younger brother, Edward VI (Oliver Zetterström) ascends to the throne, neither she nor her elder sister Mary I (Romola Garai) are free from court intrigue. She must both deal with being a teenager and the very tricky politics of sex, religion, and power.

I am hooked so far. The young lady we are watching on screen is both ordinary and extraordinary. Her ordinariness comes from experiencing the same growing pains that we all went through at that age. The extraordinariness comes from being seen as nothing but chattel while using every tool at her disposal to survive. It is brilliant, it is entertaining, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Becoming Elizabeth airs on Sunday night on Starz at 8PM.

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Ms. Marvel Review

*This review is solely based on the series as I have never read the original text.

For far too long, the majority of superheroes have been white and male. Thankfully, things have been changing to include women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.

Ms. Marvel premiered last Wednesday on DisneyPlus. Based on the comic book of the same name, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is a Pakistani-American teenager who is going through the same growing pains that we all went through at that age. Her parents are overprotective, she is unpopular at school, and desperately wants to spread her wings. She is also also a Captain Marvel Superfan.

Living in Jersey City, New Jersey, Kamala is torn between her own needs and being true to the family /faith that she was raised in. When she unexpectedly gains superpowers, she must use them to save the world.

Like Peter Parker before her, it is her ordinary ness that makes her stand out. What I have watched so far, I like immensely. As the child of immigrants, she speaks to and represents the mindset of many children and grandchildren who chose to leave the land in which they were born and make a new life in the US. I love that she is a nerd and proud of it. I love her imagination and I love her spirit.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New episodes of Ms. Marvel are released every Wednesday on DisneyPlus.

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Throwback Thursday: Gene Simmons Family Jewels (2006-2012)

The “celebrity reality show” is an interesting subgenre within reality television. It can show that the subjects are just like the average person. It can also show how they are not like the average person.

Gene Simmons Family Jewels aired on A&E from 2006 to 2012. This reality show followed the daily activities of musician Gene Simmons and his family (a la The Osbournes).

It was an interesting and quirky look at a man whose reputation (depending on the viewer) may only be known by his out-there stage antics and his claim about how many women he has taken to bed. His family-man aesthetic is a 180 that I don’t think that many people saw coming.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

P.S. His exploration of being Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor I find to be touching, human, and very refreshing.

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Flashback Friday: Work Out (2006-2008)

There are very few workplaces in which reality television has not touched.

The Bravo reality show Work Out aired from 2006 to 2008. The follow-up to another series from the network, Blow Out, the program follows Beverly Hills gym owner Jackie Warner as she both runs her business and deals with issues in her private life. As with every program in the genre, there is lots of drama that is supposed to draw the viewer in and keep them engaged.

Back then, it was appealing. It was a mixture of the beautiful people and their problems. Whether or not those problems were real or manufactured for the camera is another thing entirely. But just because I watched then does not mean I would watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: The White Queen (2013)

Women have always been the power behind the throne. But for all of that power, we are still fighting for the right to be acknowledged as leaders.

The 2013 Starz ten-part miniseries, The White Queen, takes place during the War of the Roses in 15th century England. The prequel to The White Princess, the series follows three women who all vie for the throne. The first woman is Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), whose marriage to Edward IV (Max Irons), is not exactly welcomed with open arms. The second is Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale), the matriarch of the future Tudor dynasty. The third woman is Anne Neville (Faye Marsay).

As each woman battles it out for her right to the crown, the country is thrown into a bloody battle. Someone is going to walk away the winner, but not before lives are lost and history is forever changed.

The series was and still is, intriguing. Obviously, being an American, this subject was not part of the curriculum while I was in school. While the casting is spot on and I love that the women are front and center, I found that the ending lagged a little bit. Other than that, it is thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Ridley Road Review

Hate, in all of its forms, is always around us. It is an unfortunate part of the human experience. Despite our advances in science, medicine, education, and technology, it remains ever-present.

The new Masterpiece series, Ridley Road (based on the book of the same name by Jo Bloom) premiered last weekend. The heroine of the series, Vivian Epstein (Agnes O’Casey) is the daughter of a Jewish family in England in the early 1960s. She is expected to live as her mother and grandmothers did before her: give up her job, marry the boy chosen for her, and take care of her husband and children. But Vivian wants to be more than a housewife and mother.

She follows her boyfriend Jack Morris (Tom Varey) to London. Jack is a part of the 62 group, an underground Jewish organization who are fighting against the growing fascism in the UK. Going undercover as a member of the neo-nazi group led by Colin Jordan (Rory Kinnear), both Vivian and Jack play a dangerous game of going along with their new identities while trying to keep their relationship alive.

I am absolutely loving this series so far. It’s James Bond meets a love story with a feminist coming of age narrative and a background of combating prejudice. What makes the program for me is that our heroes are ordinary people. It is, I think a reminder that change does not always come from the top. It comes from the person on the street who sees a wrong and does what they can to right that wrong.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Ridley Road airs on PBS on Sunday night at 9PM EST.

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Throwback Thursday: The World’s Strictest Parents (2009-2010)

Tough love is something necessary when it comes to our children. At the moment, it may seem overly harsh. But in hindsight, it may be the one thing that fixes the problem.

The World’s Strictest Parents aired from 2009 to 2010. This reality show followed misbehaving teenagers whose parents could not deal with them anymore. Each episode follows two subjects who live with strict host families for one week. If they continue to act out (which predictably happens), they are forced to submit to some sort of punishment. At the end of the week, each child receives a letter from their real parent, which hopefully opens the door to conversation and understanding.

This is reality television, so we have to take what we are watching with a grain of salt. What I find interesting is that the heart of the series is figuring out what is causing the behavior and resolving the issue.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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