Category Archives: Television

Parks and Rec

I know Parks and Recreation has been over for a while, but I just started watching it on Netflix and I’m hooked – I don’t know why I didn’t watch it when it was originally being aired (although, it’s kind of great watching a show that has ended because you can binge the whole season and not have to wait months for the new season, or a week for the next episode).

For those unfamiliar, the show stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, an ambitious woman working in the Parks Department of Pawnee, Indiana, and it chronicles her (mis)adventures of her trying to make the best Pawnee possible.

The thing I really like about the show is that they did a great job making the fake city of Pawnee seem real and making it a cross platform experience.  You don’t just watch the show, you live it. For example, there’s an episode where Leslie writes and publishes a book on Pawnee, and they made it an actual book you can purchase and read – yes, they actually made up the historical background of a fake city.  Most shows would just make a prop book for the episode with blank pages, but Parks went above and beyond.

When Leslie runs for office, they naturally created her website.  But, they went further and created websites for such minor things.  Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom, starts many different businesses throughout the show, and they created websites for all of them. There’s even one episode where Leslie online dates (the service she used was made up for the show), and they made a website for that made-up service. There’s also an episode where Chris Pratt’s character writes a song for Leslie’s rally and he gets the whole cast to sing it…and they actually recorded it (see below).

I think it’s this dedication to bringing alive all the small details of the show made Parks so successful and create the cult following it still seems to have.  I do have to say that I wish Mouse Rat actually released an album.

A Year in the Life

Finally.  After almost ten years, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the revival of the hit television show, was released on Netflix.  And, yes, on the day of the release, I woke up at 6 a.m. to binge watch the whole series.  I got to say, it was incredible.


The amazing thing about the show is that it’s as though no time has elapsed.  The writing is as snappy as ever, and each actor captured their character perfectly – you’d think after all that time, one of them would waiver in their performance.  But every performance was perfect.  In particular, Kelly Bishop’s performance of Emily Gilmore was Emmy and Golden Globe worthy, as was Liza Weil’s Paris Geller.

One thing I noticed in the second episode, “Spring,” Lorelai is talking about her relationship ship and she says she was married to Rory’s dad but got divorced because “it was never supposed to happen.  It was always supposed to be Luke.”  The interesting thing is Lorelai got married in the seventh season, the season Amy Sherman-Palladino (ASP), the creator, was not working on the show – she left due to contractual disputes.  This revival gave ASP the chance to end the show she had intended.  I read an article where ASP and her husband Daniel Palladino said they’d probably would’ve ended the show in the seventh season anyway, but they would’ve “done it better.”  So, I was thinking perhaps Lorelai’s comment that her marriage was never supposed to happen was literally ASP stating the marriage was never supposed to happen – when ASP was forced to leave the show, the network took the show down a road that wasn’t right.

Anyway, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is absolutely incredible – if you aren’t a Gilmore Girls fan, you will be soon!


I know I’m a little late with this – I had a major term paper due this week – but the Gilmore Girls revival trailer is finally here!  While I’m thoroughly excited, I have mixed feelings about it.

I have a feeling the series is about how Richard Gilmore (Lorelai’s father, Rory’s grandfather) dies (the actor, Ed Hermann passed away before the revival was made) and all three Gilmore women find themselves lost as tends to happen after losing a love one, and then them each finding new meaning in their lives.  While I’m excited about traveling back to Stars Hollow, the whole subject of death and losing yourself could be rather depressing.  Either way, I’m watching it on November 25th, I’m just hoping it’s not terrible.

In addition to this exciting release this week,  it was announced today that NBC is considering reviving Will & Grace, and that Disney is reviving That’s So Raven.  Part of me hears this news and thinks “can we not think of new material?”  Why don’t we give new talent a try and see if we can tell new stories.

At the same time, though, I think this revival culture that’s going on is rather exciting.  Being able to see where our favorite characters are now and what they’re doing is intriguing.

But if you think about the networks’ reasoning for creating the revivals, it’s rather smart.  These are shows that people loved watching and had/have a huge following.  Before any of these revivals were announced, there were podcasts dedicated to Gilmore Girls and the life of Stars Hollow, people would still laugh over Karen Walker’s burns, and Raven Baxter’s catch phrase “ya nasty” was still being repeated.  Investing money in recreating these shows means that people would most likely watch them and the return on investment would be high.  Unlike creating a brand new show, there wouldn’t be a barrier where people would have to learn about what the show is about and whether they’d enjoy it.  People are already fans, so they’ll watch it.  Easy money.

Except, the problem is, networks simply can’t create random garbage scenes and expect fans to buy-in to it.  While there is a fanbase, the quality of the revival has to be high.  For instance, if in the Gilmore Girls revival Luke and Lorelai are not married or together, fans would be rather angered by it.  It took Luke and Lorelai five season to get together, but then they broke up twice and it wasn’t until the final episode of the last season they got back together for what we can only assume as for the last and final time.  If they’re still playing this on again off again relationship ten years later, it would be infuriating.  There would be no growth in the plot, so why should we watch?  While reviving shows makes it easier for networks to get initial viewing, to sustain the viewership – i.e. getting fans to watch the entire season – requires them to still produce the high level quality of a show fans have come to know and love.

Overall though, big week for tv.  Now how I’m going to watch it all while going to school and working I do not know….

I Don’t Need to See That!

Gilmore Girls is one of those rare shows that you can watch more than once and each time you’ll find something new.  The show is littered with so many references that a lot of them tend to get missed.

In particular, I started watching the HBO show The Comeback about a year or so ago, and I really enjoyed it, but I never realized it was referenced in Gilmore Girls.  In The Comeback, Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe of Friends) plays Valerie Cherish, a ’90s sitcom has-been who tries to make her comeback in a new reality show that follows her on a new sitcom she’s doing.  The first season takes place in the early 2000s when reality tv was becoming quite popular.  The show got canceled but then picked up again for a second season ten years later.  Apparently it got renewed for a third season, but Kudrow said they’re taking a long break before filming that.  Anyway, it’s an interesting show because it’s filmed as though it’s the raw footage of the reality show, which is at first strange but quite enjoyable once you get used to it.

In the new sitcom Valerie stars in, her character has a catch phrase of “I don’t want to see that!”

Then, I was flipping through YouTube and I found this clip where Lorelai references Valerie and does the “I don’t want to see that!”  I was so excited, I couldn’t believe I missed that reference the first couple times I saw the episode! I also want to note Lauren Graham’s Valerie Cherish is spot on.

Oh, Karen Walker, How We’ve Missed You.

It’s been ten years, but the cast of Will & Grace has come back together to do a scene – a mini-reunion if you will.  Now, it’s clear from the video, the reasons were clearly political – they’re not so subtly campaigning for Hillary Clinton while bashing Donald Trump.  Politics aside, I still think it’s great to travel down memory lane and see what our old friends are up to.  I find it impressive that even after ten years, the cast can manage to go back into their old roles as though no time has past.  I was particularly impressed by Megan Mullally’s performance – I for some reason thought she would’ve lost her Karen voice over the years, but she was spot on.  I also liked how the writers brought back the gags that we enjoyed throughout the series: the Just Jack hand gesture, Grace’s terrible singing, Karen being really old (i.e. the reference to the Lincoln-Douglas election being the biggest election of her life-time), Karen’s great zingers, and so much more.  Revivals, even ones as small as these, can go terribly wrong and they knocked it out of the park.

So here’s hoping Will & Grace is the next series Netflix revives.  Or, they should create the spinoff, Jack & Karen (I thought Jack and Karen were the best characters of the show anyway).  Hey, Netflix gave us more Gilmore Girls, why not more Will & Grace!


OH. MY. GOSH. GILMORE GIRLS IS COMING BACK NOVEMBER 25TH.  I was literally talking with a coworker about the revival and wondering when it would be released this morning.  I then left work, went for a bike ride, and came home to see it trending on Facebook and Twitter.  And it looks so good!  I guess we all know what I’ll be doing November 25th.

Support Selina Meyer

Veep happens to be one of my favorite shows.  Not just because it has a spectacular cast and excellent writing, but because they always seem to have smart promotional strategies.  In fact, the team that launches their seasonal promotions have won awards for their cross-promotional strategies (who knew there were such award shows).

A copy of Some New Beginnings

A copy of Some New Beginnings

In season three, when Selina Meyer (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus)  was launching her presidential run, HBO literally started a presidential campaign to promote the show.  They sent copies of Selina’s biography Some New Beginnings: Our Next American Journey to bloggers and critics to create buzz around those outlets (my blog didn’t exist during that time…which was why I didn’t receive a press pack…probably).  This got other people besides HBO to talk and promote the show, commenting on the humor on the stunt: the books weren’t actually real, they were blank pages with the book jacket featured in the first episode.  HBO claimed that it was a representation of who Selina is: shiny and glossy on the outside but empty on the inside (insert laughing emoji).  They followed this up by doing a phone promotion where fans could call into Selina’s exclusive line and get a message from her Director of Communications, Mike McClintock (played by Matt Walsh).  It was all prerecorded but it made fans feel apart of the show.  A clever move.

For this current season, HBO has followed a similar tact.  Since Selina is running for reelection (spoiler alert), they allowed fans the opportunity to download free campaign posters.  They then encouraged Selina supporters to tweet out or share pictures of the campaign posters in fans’ offices/yards/homes.  Such stunts like these are clever because they bring a sense of reality to a fictional world.  They make us feel apart of it, like we could essentially vote for Selina.  This gets us talking about the show, which gets us excited about it and wanting to watch it.

This is all the tip of the iceberg of everything HBO has done to promote Veep, but the originality and ingenuity behind the promotions is something I marvel at.  It shows that they think outside the box, which is an application I personally espouse.  So keep on keeping on, HBO.  Selina may or may not win the presidency (I haven’t finished season 5 yet, please don’t spoil it for me), but in my book she’s won the best promotional campaign.


The Ellie Show

I like Ellen Degeneres and her show, but I don’t religiously follow it.  I mean, I’ll catch clips on YouTube (or EllenTube, Ellen’s version of YouTube), but I don’t watch it live – I don’t really have the time.

I was surfing around YouTube and found clips where Ellie Kemper actually hosted The Ellen Show because Ellen was out sick.  It’s kind of interesting that they didn’t just play a rerun episode but got someone to fill in.

Anyway, I thought it was funny and that Kemper did a good job (she made it the Ellie Show), so I attached some clips below.  It’s kind of odd seeing someone else sit in Ellen’s chair.


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

If you’re looking for a new show to watch, I’ve got one for you!  I just started watching the Netflix show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, co-created and produced by Tina Feyand I got to say it’s actually quite good. The show tells the story of Kimmy Schmidt who spent the previous fifteen years locked in a bunker – she was kidnapped by a guy and forced to take part in a cult.  The show starts with her released from the bunker and her rediscovering the world.

The first couple episodes are kind of weird.  Kimmy (played by Ellie Kemper) is a bit too perky (which eventually you settle in on towards the end of the season) and is like a fifteen year old living in a twenty-nine year old body.  But, the first season on the whole is actually adorkably funny and entertaining.  It’s also funny because she’s still living like it’s the late ’90s (when she was kidnapped), so she refers to an iPhone as a Macintosh (which I believe was what Apple called their products back then) and she uses slang from back then.  But the character has a good nature and is attempting (and failing) to be normal (although she ultimately discovers that being normal is overrated).  I also have to say Jane Krakowski, who plays Kimmy’s wealthy and spoiled boss, is almost reminiscent of Megan Mullally’s Karen Walker from Will & Grace.  Her comebacks aren’t as sharp and witty as Karen’s were, but she does play that humor quite well.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a great reminder that no matter whatever crap comes your way, you can figure it out and not break down.