Sunday, December 30, 2012

Melissa’s #CBR5 Review #01: Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

“I’m only marginally qualified to be giving advice at all. My body mass index is certainly not ideal, I frequently use my debit card to buy things that cost less than three dollars because I never have cash on me, and my bedroom is so untidy it looks like vandals ransacked the Anthropologie Sale section. I’m kind of a mess."

My sister is pregnant, and in an effort to make room for the baby, she gave me a bunch of books, one of which was “Are you there vodka? It’s me, Chelsea.”  I got three chapters in before I got the distinct urge to drop it in a lake.  It was not funny, I don’t think I laughed once in three chapters I read.  I hated the premise of her stories, I hated her voice, and I’m pretty sure I actually hated her.

It was in this mindset that I started reading Mindy Kaling’s memoir, not expecting too terribly much from Kelly Kapoor.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  The vignettes Kaling employ aren’t wild, out-of-this-world stories that would never happen to a sane person *cough*ChelseaHandler*cough*, but real, honest-to-goodness stories of growing up a nerd and subsequent tales of trying hard to make it in an unforgiving business.

And that’s not to say these stories weren’t funny, because oh my goodness.  I got this book for Christmas, and literally finished it in five hours.  A massive headache and severe lack of sleep couldn’t even stop me from finishing this book in one sitting.  Kaling’s self-deprecating humor never failed to amuse me, and was in stark contrast to the self-important humor that Chelsea Handler employed.

I also really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at her time at The Office, and the obvious camaraderie she had with her fellow castmates and crew was fun to look in on.  I didn’t really know how she came to be on The Office, and the persistence she showed verged on inspirational, or as inspirational as a comedy book can be.  The story of how her stage play “Matt & Ben” came to be, which lead to her current situation, was fantastic and hilarious, a great cap on a funny funny book.

The message of this book, for as much as there is one, is great: hard work and a crazy sense of humor will get you a gig on The Office.  I would vehemently recommend this to anyone who was a nerd, or who is a nerd, or who loves a nerd.  Oh, or people who like to laugh, or like to chuckle, or chortle.  This is an incredibly funny book, and a quick read to boot.

“Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.”
I give it 5/5 chubby Indian girls

Cross-Posted to CBR5

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SNL: Martin Short/Paul McCartney(12/15)

Well, that was a thing.  An amazing start lead quickly to a guest filled monologue that really didn’t deserve all the cameos it had.  I’ve never really found Martin Short all that funny, his shtick seems to be real life, but at 100 decibels.  If a line is funny, yelling it does not make it funnier.  If a line ISN’T funny, yelling it will only make me want to punch you in the face. Anyway, on with…

The Good

Cold Open:Children’s Choir(10)-I don’t think I’m ever going to give a ten again, and even though this wasn’t comedy, it was the perfect open to a show that had the unfortunate circumstance to originally air one day after the senseless events in Connecticut.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Glee: Glee, Actually(S4E10)

So we open with Sue Meta-ing all over this business, fully explaining the structure of the show tonight:  several unrelated, but thematically similar vignettes in the style of Love, Actually.

We jump right into:

Artie.  He is fully pissed because the maintenance crew failed to properly salt the ramp, and he fell down it and out of his chair, and wasn’t able to get back in until help arrived.  Finn takes him to the nurse, and as Artie wishes he was never in the chair, he passes out of the nurses’ cot.  We wake up to a black and white world where Artie can walk, and Rory is his guardian angel.  A montage of how the world changed plays, and it was pretty ridiculous.

Apparently, Artie thinks very highly of himself, because, for starters, he’s on the football team, and Becky is the school slut due to Artie not being nice to her, and Tina is still T-T-Tina.  Puck, Finn, and Ryder are still jerks(Puck and Finn didn’t graduate cause they are morons without Artie, apparently.)  Kurt also didn’t graduate due to missing so much school from bullying(apparently, Artie single-handedly stops bullying, too), all because glee club was never started due to Artie not joining.  As if anything would have stopped Rachel, but whatever.  Speaking of Rachel, she’s now a demure librarian assistant, because a poor district in Lima can afford an assistant for the librarian.  Oh, and Terry has a baby, and is still with a (now) alcoholic Shue, and Emma is in Hawaii with Coach Tanaka.

Artie freaks out, and runs to the auditorium yelling for Rory, who tells him he was the glue that held glee together(*snort*), and with him too busy playing football to join, it never stuck.  Artie calls everyone into the choir room to try to get glee going, but no one is into, even the conspicuously absent Quinn, which Artie asks Rory about.  Turns out she died of a broken spirit after her texting and driving accident, because apparently, the writers think Quinn is an idiot in all timelines.

Artie is fully depressed over this news, but then wakes up, and is much happier for his lot in life.  We then go to…

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The funny stuff: ABC Wednesday(12/12)

Man, I feel like such a slacker.  This is just a little late, and we only have one show to go through.

The Middle

So, we have two main arcs this week.
The main arc is Mike and Frankie’s 20th wedding anniversary.  Sue wants to throw them a surprise party, but Axl and Brick are less than enthused.  Sue tries to throw together a party for them, even has a party planning binder, but every single thing she plans falls through.  The venue gets double booked, all the guests decline to attend, and the skit hasn’t even been written.  To top it all off, Frankie finds the binder, and is super stoked for the party, with all the ‘done’ things Sue has crossed off the list, not knowing those things are out, not done.

On the night of the party, a severely cut down party ensues, and Frankie is very disappointed, though she tries to hide it.  The disappointment is amplified by her anger at Mike, who ignored a cell phone call from her(and she saw him ignoring it through a window).  But it’s made all better by a ring, of course.

In other news, a series finale book is coming out, one that Brick as been reading for half his life, and he is super excited for it.  He’s also super excited for the guitar he won off Axl in a air hockey game.  After he gets the book, Axl takes it, and reads the last chapter, spoiling the ending for Brick.

I gotta admit, I would be SUPER pissed if someone did that to me, and Brick’s collapsing on the floor seems like a totally appropriate response, to be honest.

Brick spends a bunch of time moping around, being pissed at Axl.  That is, until Axl tries to make it up to him by writing a new ending for the book to make up for the ending he ruined.  Brick glances through it, determining it sucks almost immediately.  But he does have a better idea:  he helps Axl gain an appreciation of books and reading by reading the entire seven book series to him.  It was a good ending, and hopefully will stick with Axl in the long run, and help make him a better student.

This was a cute episode.  It was almost fully family-based, with only a couple of scenes even set outside of the house, and the character actions were things you would expect them to do. 

I got a funny line, too:

Axl, after spoiling the ending of Brick’s series: “Brick? Brick?!?  I think I killed Brick!”

Parenthood: What to My Wandering Eyes(S4E11)

Again with the dusty viewing experience, geez.  This week, we had a bunch of stories that all convalesced into one, with tons of tears to go around.

Adam and Kristina have gone all out for Christmas, buying everything on all the kids’ lists, though Kristina is not looking very good while wrapping them all.  On Christmas Eve, she can’t stop coughing, and Adam insists on bringing her to the ER.  After taking care of the kid situation(Crosby and Jasmine are going to watch them), Adam and Kristina are at the hospital.

They don’t want to alarm anyone in the family, so they try to keep everything on the DL, but when Zeke stops by the house, Max, in his normal blunt way, tells him Kristina is in the hospital.  Zeke shows up at a terrible moment, when Kristina is crashing, and Adam yells at him to go home.

Adam asks the doctor what is going on, and Kristina is in septic shock, and is very touch and go.  The doctor kind of fails at comforting, and Adam continues to freak out.  A little while later, Kristina is awake, and tells Adam about a file she has on the computer, and to make sure the kids see it.  Zeke makes a second appearance, and he came bearing gifts: a sandwich and things to get through a hospital stay.  There are hugs and tears all around, and Adam seems a bit more calm.

That is, until he pulls out the computer and watches the video.  Oh, my goodness, I was crying the whole way through it.  It was basically a goodbye video, and even though it was kind of…off, the just the idea of it was tear-inducing, so yeah.

Meanwhile, Julia and Joel are having Christmas fun with the kids, who are sneaking around trying to find their presents.  When the kids get caught, Julia warns them that Santa won’t give them good presents if they are all sneaky and things, but Viktor is having none of that.  “It’s just a  fat man in a suit, he’s not real.”  Sidney is decidedly distressed, and Julia and Joel have much handwringing about the loss of innocence and blah blah blah.

Crosby and Jasmine are having a great time watching Adam and Kristina’s kids with Jabbar, even doing a better job at the whole Aspie parenting then Adam and Kristina. 

Amber and Ryan, on the other hand…  They are making cookies and generally enjoying each other’s company when he lets her know that he is not going to Wyoming for Christmas.  Later, Amber is visiting Julia and Joel, and finds out that Ryan left the job after the first day.  Amber talks to Ryan about it, and she insists Ryan go and talk to Joel, and even to take her car to do it. 

Cut to several hours later, and Amber is frantically calling Ryan, since he isn’t back yet, and hasn’t been answering his phone.  One loud tire squeal later, Amber and Ryan are having a huge fight in the parking lot, since he is drunk and never even went to talk to Joel, let alone the damage he caused to her car by rubbing against a parking pole.

Sarah and Hank are the mall Santa photographers, and Sarah is being a complete and utter bitch to the customers, and Hank basically has to talk her down.  Later, they are at the mall bar comparing pathetic life stories, and Sarah wins with the ‘living with her parents at 42’ card.  The next thing we see, they are in bed, grinning awkwardly at each other.  Hank manages to stick his foot in his mouth yet again, but Sarah gets the Kristina phone call, and rushes out.

So, everyone is at Zeke and Camille’s house, and Zeke gives everyone the lowdown on the hospital situation.  Everyone is kind of down, but then Jabbar comes running in, asking about Santa, since Viktor is still going around crushing dreams.  Zeke tells the story of how he met Santa, and the kids are all enthralled. 

Jasmine and Crosby, though, are on the porch with Nora.  Jasmine is contemplative, and tells Crosby she wants another baby.  Crosby goes for the fake out with a long pause, before admitting he wants another baby, too.  Even though Nora is a trouble-maker for starting all this.

Hank shows up at the door later, and pulls his foot out of his mouth with a beautiful portrait of Sarah, and the arc that you could see coming from episode one has finally come to fruition.

The next morning, Amber gets a text from Ryan.  He’s terribly sorry, of course, and promises to fix everything that is wrong with him.  Amber, though, has seen this story before, and doesn’t want to end up like her mom and Seth.  She tells Ryan they need time apart, because as much as she is in love with him, she can’t be dragged down by him, either.  And so Amber and Ryan are on a break.

And then!  Kristina is sitting up, drinking water, and feeling 1000 times better.  And it’s made even better by all fourteen of the Braverman clan, allowed into the ICU by a bribe to the desk nurse.  Cause that is something that would definitely be allowed.  Of course, it is fully adorable, with matching scarves and a surprise appearance by Hattie.

Oh, man.  This was a highly emotional episode.  It was nice to see some of the arcs hitting fully expected beats, and even some unexpected ones, as well.  I’m pretty sure I was teary-eyed through most of the Kristina stuff, for sure.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The funny stuff: FOX/ABC Tuesday(12/11)

Tonight we had a couple of shows, starting with…

Raising Hope

Apparently, Virginia thinks that the world is going to end on the 21st (the Mayans and all that), and, when she heard about it more than two years ago, she convinced the fam as well.  That is, until the day Jimmy talked to Sabrina, who informed him it’s a fallacy.  Burt, though, decided to humor Virginia for the two plus years instead of causing a fight, so Virginia started planning for the apocalypse, mainly by buying tons of crap with extreme couponing.

Now that it’s almost go-time, Jimmy is getting more and more testy, especially since it’s Hope’s first Christmas she’ll remember, and he wants it to be perfect.  Virginia, on the other hand, insists Christmas be celebrated early due to the impending apocalypse, up to and including eating all the chocolate out of the Advent calendar.

Jimmy freaks out at this, and finally spills to Virginia that the world is in fact not going to end, much to the chagrin of Burt.  Virginia freaks out in turn, of course, but insists she still has the day to prove Jimmy and everyone wrong.  Well, the day ticks slowly by, and there are no signs of the apocalypse, and Virginia is super sad.  That is, until…

Her friend from work comes in completely grimy and destitute.  Apparently, her whole family bought into the end of the world craziness, and decided the only prudent thing to do would be to sell everything they own and watch the theatrics from Disney World.  As one is wont to do.

However!  With all the crap the Chances have stored up in the bunker, along with all their disaster preparedness, they knew exactly what to do to help Virginia’s friends.  They patched up the blistered feet, got them hydrated and fed, and gave them a place to stay until they got back on their feet.

And Jimmy realized that even with his mother’s craziness in the lead up to the non-end of the world, he was glad she did it (relatively) sanely, and is happy to have her as a mom.  Aww.

This was a fun little episode, showing who the family has grown and changed in the past few years, and it was really cute, especially showing how Sabrina and Jimmy first spoke.

I got a couple of funny lines, too!

Jimmy, when Maw Maw wants to fight him: “Maw Maw, I’m not going to fight you, you’re a million years old, and you broke your pelvis falling off the back of that car carsurfing.”
Maw Maw, during her (slightly inappropriate) stand up routine: “If you ever bought or sold a person, you might be an old person”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SNL: Jamie Foxx/Neyo(12/8)

Oh, my.  This was such a terrible episode, it took me four days to get it on paper.

Lets get right down to…

The Good

Maine Justice(7)-On it’s face, this sketch was weird.  A courtroom in Maine with it’s occupants acting like New Orleans debutants?  But the humor came from the absurdity, and it had it in spades.  It may be on in the top ten for the year so far, but it has been a rather slow year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The funny stuff: CBS Monday(12/10)

Tonight we’re back with…

How I Met Your Mother

Let’s see, where to begin, where to begin…

Lily and Marshall are trying to figure out how to house his mother, and after a few false starts(no, Lilly, she cannot stay at a hostle), they relent in letting her stay in their cramped apartment.  Mickey is still there, of course, helping with Marvin, and it is super cramped.  When Marshall’s mom gets there, she confides in Lily that she is ready to get back into the dating game, and Lily encourages her.

Ted didn’t really have a whole lot of plot tonight, but he did have a rather hilarious running gag.  In the open, he listed off a bunch of items that the gang has borrowed, and that he’s not lending anything else out until he gets it all back.  Then, though the whole of the episode, all the various items, plus a few more, show up, all labeled property of Ted Mosbey.  Of course, it was all his crazy crap too, like his red cowboy boots and a vote for Ted sweatshirt.

Lastly, Barney is officially dating Patrice, and Robin is not happy.  She spent the episode attempting to sabotage them, but Patrice was having none of it.  Robin decided she needed to go to drastic measures, and so snuck into Barney’s apartment.  She was looking for the Playbook, Barney’s trick he used to get women to sleep with him.  She found  a red button, but it was just a Bon Jovi thing.  She also found the Bro Code, but then disaster strikes:  Barney come back, and Robin has to hide in the bedroom closet so he won’t know she’s there.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Glee: Swan Song(S4E9)

So, we open to a chaotic choir room: Marley merely passed out last episode, and the rest of the club brought her back to regain consciousness and whatnot.  Santana calls out Kitty(and yeah, I’ve decided to go with their actual names now, cause it was getting confusing), who adamantly denies attempting to give Marley bulimia.

Shue rushes into the room next, and lets the club know they’ve been disqualified.  The Warblers win.  New Directions is done for the year.

Sue then comes in, and commandeers everything in the choir room, since they don’t have need of it anymore.  Finn calls a powwow in Figgins’ office, where he learns a bit of bummer news: Every single practice space they normally use, including the auditorium and Spanish room have been taken over by various groups, since space is at a premium in this cash-strapped district.

OH! Then, we get completely random throwaway scene:  Sue is feeling slightly bad about taking all the glee club things, but then the floppy haired piano player comes in and bitches about the kids and their annoying spontaneous song-singing ways, and Sue feels much better.

In the choir room, all the kids want to bail on the Christmas program, and point out that Sugar already has.  Sam and Blaine additionally bum about their senior year being ruined since they can’t perform at regionals or nationals, and everyone kind of agrees to be done for now, except Marley who is attempting to stop the hate-train from crashing into her station.

Next, Brit is walking down the hall, and spots a loooong row of cheerios on the floor, and begins following the trail, eating as she goes.  And at the end of the trail is…Sam!  Who declares his crush on her.  Brit shuts him down almost immediately, though, due to the whole crazy lesbian bloggers(?!?) issue that was some sort of meta joke, maybe?  I didn’t really get it, but whatever.

The next day, we see everyone in their new clubs, because apparently If you don’t have a club, you fail at high school or something.  I dunno, I prescribed to the whole ‘screw this mess’ philosophy of not giving a damn in high school, so I couldn’t tell if this was a normal thing or not.  Anyway, Artie joined the marching band, Tina and Blaine joined the Cheerios, Jake and Ryder joined the basketball team, Unique joined floor hockey, and Dreads joined the interfaith paintball league.  And now, thinking about all these clubs they joined, I am even more confused as to why glee CLUB had to disband.  None of the other clubs disband when their ‘season’ is over, much less even have a season.  Stupid plot is stupid, almost as dumb as stupid new Rachel.

The next we see of the group, Finn is yelling at them on stage that they have for six minutes.  Most of the club declines to be yelled at by a 19 year old, and leave, save Marley, who still is trying to get everyone to like her again. 

Sam and Brit are walking down the hall, and suddenly, Brit has a change of heart, and she asks Sam on a date and they kiss, aww. /sarc

Finally, at the Christmas pageant six minute practice, only Marley shows up, but she has a new place for them to practice: the outdoor caf that totally makes sense for a school in Ohio.  At first, it’s just Finn and Marley singing, but then the rest of the group shows up, and it’s very ‘let’s move on to the next chapter’ story telling, and they didn’t do a good job of singing the song, either.

Oh, and there was a dumb subplot featuring special snowflake Rachel getting an invite to perform at the Christmas gala contest, and she wins, blah blah blah, and Kurt for some reason sings too, and manages to get into NYADA for spring semester, and it is super boring and predictable, and very lame.

This episode was very irritating.  I feel like it could have been a lot better, with the chapter closing arcs and whatnot, but that mostly failed miserably, beyond a couple of actually pretty funny meta jokes(brit one excluded).  I think the whole Cheerios taking over the space was overkill, and the story of everyone splitting apart without the shared goal could have actually been milked for a couple of episodes to great effect, but no, we got a split and reform all in the space of about twenty minutes, and neither felt earned. 

Everything in this episode, and, for that matter, this series, feels rushed.  We go from not hearing about a topic to that topic being over and done in the span of a half an hour every third episode or so.  For example, sectionals, from picking songs, to rehearsing, to performing those songs happen in one episode, which doesn’t even make sense at all.

I enjoy the singing in this show, but the story arcs are terrible.  I really wish I could slap some sense into the writers, and by extension, their stupid stupid character, but I am a lowly blogger, what do I know?


Somethin’ Stupid, as sung by Sam and Brit
All that jazz, as sung by Cassandra and Rachel
Being Good Isn’t Good Enough, as sung by Rachel
O Holy Night, as sung by Rachel
Being Alive, as sung by Kurt
Don’t Dream it’s Over, as sung by Finn, Marley, and rest of the club