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Saying Goodbye to Agent Carter and The Grinder

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Howdy ladies and gents, today I return to the world of blogging to talk about some TV news. Recently it was announced that both Marvel’s Agent Carter and The Grinder were recently cancelled and since they were shows that I really liked I just wanted to reflect on them and share my thoughts on their cancellation.

Agent Carter

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Agent Carter has always been a show not appreciated by many, but loved by a select few and in some cases it has even been preferred over Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. too. For me I liked season 1, but this year’s season 2 definitely changed things up and made the stories, tone and character development a heck of lot more interesting and engaging. Now I know that there weren’t a lot of fans of season 2 because of the focus on humour, the more light-hearted tone and a story that wasn’t in line with what took place last season, but some of those elements are what I thought made season 2 fun. This season really dove deeper into the relationship between Peggy and Jarvis and why it was important,the introduction of Dark Matter added an interesting supernatural element, the show covered themes of race, gender and the inner workings of Hollywood well, and finally for the most part Whitney Frost was a pretty solid villain with a good backstory and rise to power. Now good the humour have been toned down? Yes. Would better writing have fixed certain tonal shifts, Peggy’s love triangle and given Whitney Frost more to do beyond being a villain limited to one season? I would think so. And would a heavier focus on Dottie Underwood have made the show more interesting and given the show better continuity with last season? Probably. In the end we’ll never know, I guess the viewership wasn’t high enough and the content wasn’t what a lot of fans were looking for, but I had hoped Agent Carter would at least see a third season just to get some more stories, but I guess maybe some future comics, film flashbacks or a short could fill in the gaps.

The Grinder

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Ah The Grinder, tis a shame to see you go, but I guess you weren’t funny enough to stick around. For me I didn’t start this show until early side of March and then got addicted with the first few episodes. What I liked about The Grinder was its meta nature, sel-awareness and over-the-top style and humour, the show was very silly, but in a good way, and for at least the first have of the show, maybe up to around episode 15 the show was on fire, fairly consistent and introduced new scenarios that changed things up but kept the formula of the show intact. I think what happened with the show’s demise was a few of things like: 1) That those who weren’t sold on the first few episodes gave up without giving the show a proper chance. 2) I think the show went on for too long and could have been shortened with less repetition and filler episodes and tighter main narrative. And 3) I think the show ran out of steam about 2/3’s of the way into the show, with the latter stories being more a drag and some of the humour felt less funny and smartly written than in earlier episodes. Regardless of those issues I adored Rob Lowe and his charisma in the role of Dean Sanderson and what he brought to the “The Grinder” TV series inside of the show. Lowe and Fred Savage had good chemistry and I also enjoyed what Mary Elizabeth Ellis brought to the show as well.

It does suck that both of these shows have been axed considering how much fun they were and the potential they had to be more, but I guess that’s just the way things go in the ever-changing world of TV. I just want to say that it was a good time checking these shows out while they were airing and the memories won’t be forgotten. đŸ™‚

So did you watch Agent Carter or The Grinder or both? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! đŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Media, Television

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #21 – The Grinder

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to post #21 on What I’m Currently Watching where I give you a tiny update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. Last week I was having a crazy binge session with The Grinder and I thought I’d make that the focus and talk about this crazy show. With that out of the way let’s crack on!

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The Grinder is one of the final shows from IGN’s 2015 Fall TV Preview that I’ve yet to watch but since I needed something comedic and shorter than the 44 minutes I decided to start this show and from the first episode I was hooked. For those uninformed the premise involves Dean Sanderson, an actor who played the lawyer Mitch Grinder on the long-running hit show, The Grinder. However once the show ends Dean finds himself struggling to know what to do with himself next, so he eventually decides to move in with his brother, who an actual lawyer and use his TV knowledge and apply it in real life situations. And so the main concept of the show is seeing Dean try to use his “knowledge” of the law in real life and how it doesn’t always work to the great frustration of his brother who just wants things done the proper way and keeps getting disrupted.

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What I love about this show is the humour, it’s self-awareness and it’s ridiculous. There are things that should work in real life or make any sense (especially when it comes to The Grinder TV show), but writers and actors find a way to make it work. Since when could an actor who played a lawyer become an actual lawyer without any proper education or training? Well this show answers that question and them some. So the show follows the day-to-day happenings of Dean and how his actions effect not only himself but his family, co-workers and so on with positive and negative effects. But when the show’s not following Dean, there is a heavy focus on his brother Stewart, who not only has to deal with the fact that he’s the brother of a famous actor but he also has a life dedicated to the practice of law and when Dean comes into play with his bravado and casual approach to serious matters involving the law. I really enjoy how the show knows how silly it is and uses that to its advantage to create some very inventive, smart and over-the-top humour which got me laughing out loud from the first few episodes especially. But beyond the humour there is some heart and character progression that keeps things from getting repetitive and some of the new elements incorporated into the show change the dynamic every so often which means that there’s always something new to learn or time for other characters or stories to be covered.

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But the main reason the show works is due to Rob Lowe as Dean Sanderson, Dean is abrasive, delusional and overly dramatic, but he’s also very cool, tenacious, sensitive and hilarious, and that’s only thanks to the various scenes we get to see from his acting on his former TV show, but also because Rob Lowe is a comedic badass. Since Parks and Rec, Lowe has become one of my favourite people to watch in TV and film and he is just as charismatic and charming as ever, and his timing for jokes is literally on-point. Fred Savage is no slouch as he does a great job Stewart Sanderson, while he can be a bit too much of a negative Nancy, he’s one of the few people that applies logic to a situation when everyone else has thrown it out of the window, plus it’s just great when he questions a lot of Dean’s actions and the stuff that goes on in The Grinder TV show. Also Mary Elizabeth Ellis who I’ve mainly seen in It’s Always in Philadelphia has a lot more to do in this show as Debbie Sanderson, she’s Stewart’s wife and while she initially doesn’t do much beyond being a generic wife, she does get some development and prominence as the show progresses. Natalie Morales as Claire Lacoste is fun at times because of her mellow attitude and complete uninterest in Dean, but a lot of times she’s really mean and unlikable and there’s not been much good development for her. Hana Hayes and Connor Kalopsis are just delightful as Lizzie and Ethan Sanderson, they have many cheeky, memorable and hilarious moments and good chemistry with Dean and their parents too. And while William Devane as Dean Sanderson, Sr. is mainly there just to say funny lines, it wouldn’t feel right without him being around. Steve Little is just so silly and yet funny as Todd, Timothy Olyphant is very engaging and humourous as the fictionalized version of himself, and Maya Rudolph has been wonderful in her appearances as Jillian.

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In conclusion The Grinder is such a funny and random show with a unique concept, great acting and kick ass humour, that it would be impossible for me not to recommend it enough. The season’s not even over yet and I’ve enjoyed the show immensely and thanks to Rob Lowe especially I will continue to watch until this adventure ends. đŸ™‚ So have you seen The Grinder and if so what do you think? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to comment below and I’ll se ya on the next TV review, laters! đŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2016 in Media, Reviews, Television

 

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The Joys of Watching Parks and Recreation

Howdy people of the internet, time for a semi-review of sorts. Today I wish to talk about one of my favourite TV shows in recent history, Parks and Recreation, one of the best comedy TV shows I have seen for a long time. If you have read this blog before then you will know a little while ago I did a blog post about my history with TV shows and some of my favourites of all-time, but the one show I was probably missing and I would add now is Parks and Rec. It is THAT good. Now that the show is in its final season with the final two episodes set to air tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to talk about this show and why it kicks so much ass.

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Before talking about the show, I wanted explain why I started watching it. basically I had heard some talk about Parks and Rec back in 2012 and 2013 on various websites and fair amount on AMC Movie Talk. But it wasn’t until Chris Pratt was cast as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy that I decided to give the show a watch (that and the fact that John Campea of AMC Movie Talk spoke so highly of him on the show). And that’s where it all started.

So why do I love this show? Allow me to explain…

In a nutshell the story of Parks and Rec follows the absurd antics of the town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place. The show is set Pawnee, Indiana and follows the adventures of Leslie Knope as she attempts to improve the town through government with her crew from the parks department.

The reason the show works is because of the following three main reasons: 1) It is funny, 2) The cast is brilliant and 3) It never stays the same.

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I have to admit that the first season did take some time to get into, it was fine, but the show didn’t find a focus and it’s funny factor until season two. From there all of the stories have more focus and energy, the jokes are much better and the characters really start to show their more unique and hilarious personalities. Each season afterward presents new, exciting and absurd stories for us as viewers to see, nothing ever stays the same for too long and thankfully things change for the better rather than ruining the formula of the show. The are surprises to be found and plot twists that happen in the most surprising of ways, the show’s almost like a comedy mixed in with a soap opera. There is good humour but also a lot of drama to be found (but I’ll get to that later in this post.

One of the main things that make this show work so well is the humour. People who read this blog know that I’m not the biggest fan of comedy-based stuff, though when I find a TV show that I find really funny, then I’m a happy place. For a time I thought Community was the funniest US TV show I’d watched, but then Parks and Rec, came along and blew the former out of the water. Parks and Rec is funny, it is really funny. The show has some of the snappiest humour I have seen in any show in a long time. Whether it be verbal or physical humour, it works so well and as the seasons go on the show’s funny factor stays consistent and provides many laugh-out-loud moments. Plus since the show is done in a documentary style with characters able to the break the fourth wall and talk to the audience, it just adds a level of intimacy and humour that other shows lack.

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The best thing about the show is its characters. The characters of Pawnee happen to be some of the most absurd fictional human beings ever conceived, they’re like all of the people that go to Community‘s Greendale Community College, except on a much crazier level. Whether it is the primary, recurring or guest cast members, everyone gets their chance to shine in this show. What is neat about the citizens of Pawnee is that most of them are all given plenty of screen time for you understand who they are and why they are funny, so when they make future appearances you remember and appreciate them more.

Firstly we have Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope who is delightful to watch. Leslie is a woman crazy obsessed with government and a lot of strange habits, however she is also very kind and is a brilliant friend to all of her coworkers. Poehler is just perfect for this kind of role and I love how much her character’s progressed. The gorgeous Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins is also great, she start’s out as an outsider and a nurse but eventually become integrated into the government through her friendship with Leslie. Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford is one of the most funny people in the show, the man is classy, but also selfish, arrogant and sarcastic, but all of those traits make him so likeable. Then there’s Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson who is arguably my favourite character. He is a man of few words, hates government, loves meat and normally likes to distance himself from his coworkers, and that’s just a few elements that makes him amazing. I LOVE Offerman’s performance and he just makes me smile whenever he has key scenes in the show.

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Another great person is Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate. Here we have a live-action version of Daria, except much more creepy, cynical and lazy. April is SO much fun because she is cute and yet so awkward and strange. And then there’s Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer who is the character I think it arguably the best person in the show. The guy is incredibly stupid and child-like, but he’s also very sweet and his singing and physical humour makes the show SO much fun to watch. Pratt’s energy and charisma really elevate the show and provide some of the most memorable scenes in the series. Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt is probably my least favourite character in this group, that being said he has his moments where he is pretty funny (and that mainly comes from being around Leslie). Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger is just one of the best people ever. He is inhumanly heathy, absurdly positive and has such a great relationship with everyone. Jim O’Heir and Retta also bring me much joy as Jerry Gergich and Donna Meagle. Donna is a surprisingly funny and sophisticated woman who has great moments with Tom while Jerry is a man who just suffers, whether he is getting into accidents, being ignored or just being pranked by his colleagues, there is never a dull moment when he is around.

I also love small recurring characters like the brilliant Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz), the sassy/crazy Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins), the absurd/sexy Tammy II (Megan Mullally), the humourous Brandi Maxxxx (Mara Marini), the absurd Bill Dexhart (Kevin Symons), the always entertaining  Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson) and quiet and creepy Orin (Eric Isenhower) just to name a few.

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Watching this show feels like more than just 30 minutes for fun TV, it feels more like checking on good friends and seeing what they’ve been getting up to from episode to episode. What the writers and actors do so well with this show, more so than a lot of others, is make you feel connected to these characters and their situations with very real, emotional and relatable stories. For all of the humour that takes place in this show, there is a A LOT of heart, so much so that there are episodes that make you want to cry tears (sometimes of joy and sadness). I love the show so much that I re-watched the whole thing again (before season seven had aired) and now we’re on the final season and I’m not quite ready for another one of my favourite shows to end, but I guess this rollercoaster ride has to end at some point.

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In conclusion Parks and Recreation is pretty much one of the best TV shows I ever decided to watch. Few shows have the power to engage me on such a level where I am addicted and need more like a crack-head junkie. The cast is brilliant, the humour is great and each season beyond the first brings something new, strange and fun to the table in ways that most shows can’t. If you haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is Parks and Rec then I implore you to do so, you’re missing out on some good stuff yo. đŸ˜€

So have you seen the awesomeness that is Parks and Recreation and if so what do you think or it? Whatever your thoughts be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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