Category Archives: TV

London 2012 Opening Ceremonies: What I learned while watching without sound.

Unless you are living under a rock I am sure that you are aware that the Opening Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics were yesterday. I was at a party last night so while we had the Opening Ceremonies on the television I couldn’t hear anything that was actually going on. I am pretty sure that the show that was put on was supposed to be all about England but without volume I can’t be sure. Since my history on the UK is a bit rusty, I had to try to piece together what I was seeing. If you watched last night, am I close to what you saw?

In the beginning all of Britain was just like the Shire: full of Hobbits, everything was peaceful and everyone played cricket.

But the British Hobbits were not those peaceful little guys you remember from the books or movies.  The Men of The Shire were not treated as equals and the Hobbits never allowed them to play in their days long games of cricket.  That was until the day that one man found a mystical and gigantic bell that would solve all their problems.

The bell was rung and its powerful magic called forth Abraham Lincoln.

But Abe was not alone. This bell had the ability to clone The Great Emancipator and brought many copies…and they had a plan. They met at The Party Tree where the OG Abe relayed the story of the sufferings of all the Abes that came before him at the hands of the English Hobbits to his brethren. Abe preached that they were to break their chains and use their power to call forth the Armies of the Dark One to lay waste to The Shire.

And after their evil incantations an army of Zombies arose from the Party Tree and descended on The Shire.

The Zombies quickly overrun all of Britain and the reign of the Hobbits was ended.  Those few Hobbits that remained were forced into slavery and were made to labor in the lava flows from Mordor to start bringing in the Industrial Age of Man.

The city of Isengard (now known as London) slowly rose from the ruined shell that was once The Shire.  The rise of this new and powerful city drew the attention of Lidless Eye of Sauron from the east.

Aware that his power in the realm of Britain was on the verge of being challenged by the Zombie and their evil Wizard master, Sauron forged 5 more rings of power for his new Ringwraiths.

Armed with their new Rings of Power, the Ringwraiths descended on Isengard with their warcry of “SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS”

The Powerful Wizard of Isengard and these Ringwraiths battled for days.

The unleashing of their magic energies could be seen from miles around.

But as suddenly as the battle had begun…it was over.  There was no sign of the Evil Wizard of those hideous Ringwraiths.  The evil seemed to have left this corner of the world.  The few Hobbits that remained came out from their hiding and the grand celebration began with a chorus of happy little drummers.

The celebration came to a close with a parade of the champions from every corner of the globe.

So did I get all that right?  If my memory of my old history classes didn’t fail me…I am probably spot on.

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Game of Thrones: Disappointment is Coming!

First, let me start off by saying that I am a fan of both the books and the HBO Series.

The books are second to none when it comes to political intrigue and “WTF moments” in a fantasy setting. And being the nerd that I am, I love a fantasy setting. Granted, each book could be two to three hundred pages shorter if Martin didn’t find it necessary to go into the minutia of what every single character is wearing or eating. I honestly could not possibly care less about every single item of clothing or what is on the buffet table and I don’t think it adds to the story in the slightest. I am pretty sure that you could shave off a year or more of the wait between books if George would just relax a bit on his descriptive diarrhea.

And the TV series is, in my opinion, one of the most perfectly cast adaptations that I have ever seen. Almost every single character is exactly how I pictured in my head while reading. Every set and scene is brilliantly shot and depicted. And just about every actor is delivering their roles flawlessly (the only characters I really have any issues with are Craster and The Hound, but I just think that is because his role has been poorly written and directed and is not the fault of the actor…so far.)

That being said, With last week’s episode, “A Man Without Honor”, we have reached the halfway point of Season 2 and I have to admit that I am disappointed in this season so far. I think that my frustration with this show is entirely based on having read the books before watching. I know that the credits say that the show is “based on” the books but did they have to go with “so loosely based on the books to almost be unrecognizable”? The Dragons get stolen? Really?

I realize that the writers have to cut and/or condense scenes and I have no problem with that, when it fits. For example, the capture of Arya, Gendry and Hotpie by the Lannisters actually works. They pretty much nailed all the key points of 3 “Arya” chapters into one scene. It does leave a bit of the “Arya is a badass” out of the story. But really, does anyone watching the show not think she is freakin’ awesome? So leaving out that bit of the story does nothing to hurt the series.

My problem lies in all the scenes and stories that they are adding to the show or just flat-out changing. This last episode alone had maybe two scenes that were actually in the books. And the whole second season has been like this. I already mentioned the part about the dragons but there are so many others:

  1. Jon Snow and Ygritte –  I can’t help but wonder if this was changed so that Jon will remain heroic and not have to “turncoat” like he does in the book.
  2. Stannis and Melisandre – Pretty much the entire character of Stannis and the “relationship” with Melisandre. There is no way Mr. Holier-than-thou Baratheon is bangin’ that red bitch (even though she is pretty damned hot).
  3. Yarra – The name change of Asha, to Yarra, cause we are just too stupid to tell the difference between Osha and Asha.
  4. Jojen and Meera – I love these two characters and not having them there to educate Bran irks me. Using Osha to embody both of these characters really left a bad taste in my mouth.
  5. Talisa Maegyr – Is this supposed to be Jeyne Westerling? They are setting up this character like it is but if so why did they change the name? I can almost understand the Asha/Yarra change but this one makes no sense. And if she is supposed to be the character of Jeyne then even establishing her on the show doesn’t make sense to me. When she shows up in the books it is a surprise to both Catelyn and the reader and has such far-reaching implications that changing her entrance into the series doesn’t make much sense. I think they should have played up on the betrothal of Robb to one of the Frey girls this season instead. Then, when Jeyne/Talisa shows up out of the blue it would be a surprise to the viewer like it was to the reader.
  6. Qarth – Pretty much every scene dealing with Dany in Qarth is fabrication by the screenwriters. The way things are going in Qarth I am wondering if significant portions of Dany’s story will go untold. Will they leave out the characters of Arstan Whitebeard and Strong Belwas? Will the trip to Astapor and acquisition of The Unsullied not be on the show? It has to be though, doesn’t it? I mean, Astapor is where “Beggar Queen” Dany becomes “Oh No you, didn’t!” Dany.
  7. Harrenhal – Like Qarth, almost every scene so far hasn’t been anywhere near the story in the book. Jaqen H’ghar’s part was rushed and felt nowhere near the badssitude that it did when I was glued to the pages. (Oh and by the way, the recasting of The Mountain is distracting. The actor from Season 1 was perfect. This new Gregor does not have that same menacing feel to his look. Just looks like some tall and skinny dude in armor.) Where is Vargo Hoat and The Bloody Mummers? Gonna be a few pretty important scenes with those guys down the line a bit, just ask The Kingslayer. While all the scenes with Arya and Tywin are great it bothers me that they just didn’t happen like that on the written page. And speaking of Arya…her mantra (Joffrey, The Hound, Gregor, Amory, The Tickler, Polliver, Chiswyck, Weese, Ilyn, Meryn Traunt, Cersei, Dunsen and Raff the Sweetling) should be prominently featured at least once or more per episode and yet I have only heard it once. It is part of what made her my favorite character and hearing those names slowly, one by one, being removed from that list is a highlight of the books for me.

The series is still really good but I sometimes wish that I had not read the books and that I was just watching this show with fresh eyes. But then I see the confused look on Deb’s face every Sunday night before I hit pause so that I can explain all the narative lost on those that watch without the knowledge gained from reading the books. I really hope people who watch the show have someone sitting there with them to fill in all those blanks.

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Lethal Weapon: From Superbadassery to Batshit Crazy

Recently, while nursing a hangover and not really wanting to move from the couch, I was channel surfing and came across Lethal Weaponjust as it was beginning.  I had not watched this classic in years.  So I dug deeper into the couch and settled in for an enjoyable two hours of one of my favorite movies of all time.  it is just one of those movies that everyone loves, Deb even came in and watched it from beginning to end with me.

One thing that really hit me while watching was how much the years have not been kind to Riggs and Mr. Joshua.
 
Both of these guys were believable as the super tough, kung-fu fighting, ex-military bad ass mofos.  Their fight scene at the end of the movie is still one of the best and realistic ever filmed.
But how did those two tough guys turn into these two guys?
It is sad what time and the loss of brain cells has done to these two.  If I was forced, back in the 80s,  to pick which of the two stars of Lethal Weapon would go on to be a whacked out nutjob I can tell you that Gibson would have lost out to Glover in a heartbeat.  And Busey is beyond crazy.  Sometimes his ramblings are so insane that I feel that he totters on the edge of genius…but then I see that blank look on his face and realize, “Nah, it is just crazy”.
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American Idol: Seriously?

Really?  Spellcheck?

I could even cut them a break if this was a live show…but come on now.

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How do these people get interviewed?

So last night, after watching the preview of Touch (which was awesome btw), we were just in a lazy mood and started watching the news.  And then a story about some guy that is attacking women came on.  The story itself was awful but we couldn’t help but laugh our asses off at the people that they chose to interview.  It is like they found the two biggest cartoon characters they could find and wrangled them in front of the camera.  Check it out…

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Survivor: South Pacific Season Thoughts (And How Coach Could Have Won)

A recreation of the logo for the first America...

Those people who really know me know that I am a huge Survivor fan.  I have watched every season and rarely have I ever missed an episode.  I do have to admit that before last season my interest in the show was starting to wane but Boston Rob‘s brilliant game really re-energized my love for the show.  I must admit that when this season started up and they used the same gimmicky crap as last year and were bringing back two former stars of the show I was a little put off.  And when I saw that the two former stars were Ozzy and Coach I was watching with my finger on the remote and ready to change the channel faster than Jeff Probst can don a blue shirt.

I had no problem with Ozzy.  The guy can catch fish in the desert and climb a tree like someone was chasing him.  He also is probably one of the most physically gifted people who have ever been on Survivor.  A truly dominant force in all the challenges.  So I knew that he was going to fit right in on whatever gang he was “jumped” into.

English: Coach Wade, also known as a huge cock...

Coach…Freakin’ Coach, Man.

I told Deb, who really didn’t watch the show before I kind of made her last year, that Coach was going to be right up there in the Crazy Stratosphere like “Pink Panty” Phillip from last year.  This guy had been the epitome of Douchebag in earlier seasons and I knew he wasn’t going to disappoint this year either.  I was pretty sure we would all see his morning routine of “I saw this on TV and I pretend to know what I am doing because it makes me look deep” Tai Chi  while half-naked and alone on a beach.  I was also confident we would all be subjected to his constant Sun Tzu, Shakespeare, [insert your own long dead but highly quotable figure from history here], etc. quotes during his confessionals to let us all know just how much smarter he is than the rest of us.

And he didn’t disappoint either.  I was surprised at how much he toned down the more outrageous aspects of his personality but for the most part it was the same old Coach Wade.

The one aspect of the show this year that I did not see coming was Jesus.

Not sure which one is scarier

The real name of the show for season 23 should have been Survivor:  The Cult of Jesus.  Holy shit, was there a ton of praying on this season or what?  There was so much Jesus-freakery that I almost tuned out at about mid-season.  I know that it was all because of the God-Warrior Schizo Brandon Hantz.  This kid got his entire tribe cult to get in a circle and pray for everything.  And I mean everything.  They prayed before and after absolutely everything.  I am gonna go out on a limb here and say that I am pretty sure that the entire group was getting in a circle and praying before someone headed off into the woods to take a coconut laced dump.  It was almost unbearable.

And if you wanted to have a shot at any money this year you had to drink the Kool-Aid and get in there and get your Jesus-hands dirty.  If you didn’t bow your head and thank Jesus every time the wind blew you were going to be ostracized and have zero chance at seeing the endgame. It was all pretty sickening.  I felt like I was being forced to watch a version of Survivor that was somehow taken over by the 700 Club every Wednesday night.

I wish the producers would have had the foresight to stick some Jewish or Muslim players in the mix.  It would have been incredibly entertaining to see a Holy War erupt on that little island in the South Pacific.

I would like to point out that I did correctly make the prediction that every bit of prayer would stop once Brandon got the boot.  There wasn’t one mention of God by the other players once he was kicked to the curb.  Thank God.

Ozzy Cornell

And then there was Ozzy.

When the season started I wanted nothing more than to see him voted off early.  Especially when my lady kept getting all school girl crushy on him because he looked to be a mixture of Chris Cornell and a dirty pirate.  But about 5 or 6 weeks ago I started really pulling for him to win.  The little beach-hippie was not only surviving over on Redemption Island, he was prospering.  This cat was catching and eating more than the rest of these chumps combined.  So he pretty much had energy to spare at every duel and it really showed.  Ozzy just stomped every single competitor into the ground on his way back into the game when there were  just 5 people left.

You could almost smell the fear in the other four remaining members of The Jesus cult when Ozzy got back into the game.  And you could almost taste it when he won that next Immunity challenge.  It seemed like there was no stopping the Ozzy train as he just steamrolled over everyone on his way to the million dollars.

I have to give credit to Coach, Sophie and Albert for their smart decision at that Tribal Council.  They had to get rid of Rick.  He had no shot at winning at the next challenge and they needed to make sure Ozzy did not win immunity because if he did he would have won the game outright.  That jury wasn’t going to give the money to anyone but Ozzy if he was in the final three and everyone knew it.  So because Sophie was more of a man than Rick…he had to go.

And it turned out to be a brilliant move because Sophie bitch slapped Ozzy right out of the winner’s circle at the next Immunity challenge and pretty much sealed both of their fates.  If they voted Ozzy out…Sophie was going to win, hands down.  She did the least amount to piss off the members of the jury and at this point in the game that is what it is all about.  I honestly don’t think there was any way she wasn’t going to win if Ozzy was voted out.  But…..

The Final Three

Coach could have made things a bit interesting and even given himself an outside chance at winning the game if he just had the balls to stand up to his convictions.  Albert had about the same chances of seeing his name on any of those votes as he did seeing mine because he had pissed off every single member of the jury and there was not going to be any forgiveness during that last tribal council.  The only way Coach had a shot at winning was to vote against Albert and tie up the votes at 2-2 with Ozzy.  He could have (and should have) made a big “Dragonslayer” production out of that vote and make it known to everyone on the jury that he wanted to live up to his “play with the best” credo that he had preached since day one of his first season on the show.

Had Coach voted for Albert and forced the tie-breaker the most likely outcome would have been that Ozzy would have made his fire faster than Albert and been in the final three.  But there really would have been no difference to Coach if Albert or Ozzy were sitting next to him and Sophie up there at the end…he wasn’t going to win.

Oh FFS! More praying?

Now, had Albert beaten Ozzy in that tie-breaker then the outcome of the game would have most likely completely changed.  The jury would have seen Coach live up to his honor and integrity mantra instead of just wading around in the bullshit that it became.  The jury would have seen Coach take a gamble and give Ozzy the shot to win his way to the million.  So because Albert beat Ozzy in the tie-break, the same three people are still sitting in the Final Three but this time I honestly believe that Coach would have received every single vote from the jury for the payday.

Coach making that move (with the Albert beating Ozzy stipulation) was the only way he could have won.  He had to know he wasn’t going to beat Sophie…I knew it, so he had to.   So I don’t see why he didn’t at least give himself a fighting chance.

All in all it was a pretty entertaining season.  I could have done without the constant browbeating by a 19-year-old kid that was replacing his addiction to drugs/booze/gangs/tattoos/etc. with a Jesus addiction but overall it was enjoyable.

I guess I will be back again next year.

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Monday Night Football: Skins vs Cowboys

To All the Redskins Defensive Players,

Please don’t pay attention to this picture.

Thanks.

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