Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Fixer Upper: The End of an Era

Tonight, we say goodbye to TV’s golden couple, Chip and Jo. 

     Well, at least until next Tuesday when their new show, Behind the Design, premieres. But really, tonight is the end of an era. For the past 5 years, we have invited this amazing couple and their family into our living rooms. We’ve watched them do everything from transforming their own 100-year-old farmhouse into everyone’s dream home, to moving their offices and shop to the old Silos downtown, to writing books, to starting a bakery, a bed & breakfast, a furniture line, a paint line, and a restaurant, and in-between all of that, flipping pretty much every house in Waco, Texas. Chip and Joanna Gaines have not only set the world on fire with their farm-chic style, they have stayed humble and true to themselves while their lives played out on TV for millions of people to see. 

     Chip and Joanna aren’t just #couplegoals because they’re good-looking people with a TV show. They are real people, with a family, and real lives that they made sure they didn’t stop living just because there was a camera around. Their emphasis on family and faith never faltered or went away. And while I’m sure a lot of their viewers (my grandmother being one of them) loved seeing a nice, Christian couple on TV, I would bet that at least half, if not more, didn’t really know or care about their religion. I believe Chip and Jo just do their best to live as good people and good parents and it comes across in every episode and every interaction they have with the camera.

     I write this tonight, not as a promo for a show that I love (I do love it, if you couldn’t tell) but just as my way of saying “thank you” to the Gaines family. I want you to know that I, as a viewer, acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices you made to put you life on TV. I appreciate you letting your children grow-up on camera for a few years, it has been a joy to watch them. I am thankful for you letting me see the amazing work you are doing in Waco. Thank you for providing an HGTV show that I didn’t mind watching with my family (seriously, before Fixer Upper came along, I hated HGTV), and in turn, creating a wonderful family show that we could all sit down and watch together.

     A few weeks ago, in my Sunday School class, we were talking about the sabbath. We debated on how the word could be interpreted today since, in this world, it’s fairly unrealistic for the average person to literally do no work on Sunday (or any day). We talked about how sabbath means peace and how, maybe we could take it to mean that we need to find times of peace in our day. When I got home from church that day, HGTV was having a Fixer Upper marathon. I immediately thought to myself, “this is my sabbath, this is my peace.” And it’s true. Television has always been an escape for me and something that means a great deal to me. Fixer Upper is the only show that I can say brings me complete peace when I watch. I might be laughing at Chip or in suspense of what snafu they just hit with construction, but I am truly at peace when I watch the show.

Chip, Joanna, Drake, Ella, Duke, and Emmie Gaines, thank you.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Budding Prospects - An Amazon Pilot

March Madness has started so my TV mostly consists of basketball games right now, but the other day, I made some time to check out a new Amazon pilot, Budding Prospects. Now, I love Amazon Pilot Season because you can go on and everyone can watch their pilots (even without a Prime account) and then review them so Amazon knows which ones people like! It is a wonderful way to watch and interact with TV so I suggest you go check out all of their shows.

I first found out about Budding Prospects because I follow one of it's stars, Adam Rose (@realadamrose), on pretty much every social media format. Sidenote: go follow him on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, you won't regret it. Anyways, I knew Adam from watching Supernatural so I was thrilled when he started promoting his new show! And then I saw the other two main stars and I got even more excited. Rose (Veronica Mars) is joined by Joel David Moore (Dodgeball, Bones) and Will Sasso (MADtv, The Three Stooges).

(From left to right) Moore, Rose, and Sasso

"I guess we're all just freaks when you scratch the surface."

This is my favorite line from the show. This line is what makes this show relatable. Not everyone lived in the 80's, not everyone has lived in San Francisco, and not everyone has smoked pot. But everyone has felt like a freak at some point in their life. And this show makes sure you know that it's okay.

Set in San Francisco in 1983, Budding Prospects centers around Felix (Rose), Phil (Moore), and Gesh (Sasso), three friends who are no strangers to the wonders of marijuana. After becoming completely fed up with his bartending job, Felix quits in the middle of his shift, leaving his oldest patron, Celia, in charge. Felix wanders around the city with Phil for the rest of the day as he puts up flyers for his robotic pyrotechnics show that night. Realizing he needs money, Felix tries to get in with an old dealer of his, Vogelsein (played by Brett Gelman), but is left without a real answer. In the middle of the night, Vogelsein comes to see Felix with a much better business proposition--tending the land on his new pot farm. Vogelsein explains to Felix how he has bought a ton of land out in the country from which he will be running a "summer camp". Vogelsein has partnered with a botanist who will actually worry about the planting and growing of the pot but he needs Felix and two others to live in the cabin on the land and help with the labor of farming it. Felix asks Phil what he thinks and Phil has to convince Felix to say yes. They decide to get Gesh to join them and the three set off for the cabin. On the ride up, the guys talk about what they'll do with their share of the money. My favorite part is when Felix turns down the idea of investing in computers and instead, says he will invest in Troll dolls. Because surely, that will make him so much more money than pot and computers combined.The last shot is the three friends driving, getting high, and Felix's mattress flies off the roof of the car. The only ones that notice, however, are the nearby cops, who then start to follow the guys up to the cabin...

Will they get caught? Who knows, that's why we need more episodes! The plot line is only half the reason this show is amazing. The characters (and furthermore, the actors) are the reason this show is going to continue. People love watching TV when they can relate to a character and I believe every single person will be able to see themselves in Felix. He doesn't have a lot in this world but he's trying to do what he can to get by. The bad part is, nothing seems to go his way. He's just quit his crappy job, his ex-wife is still sleeping on his couch, and he definitely isn't living up to his parents' expectations. So when the opportunity to make half a million dollars comes up he's excited but skeptical, just like anyone would be. Felix isn't a risk taker, but thank goodness his friends are. This experience will be good for him, and this show will be good for society. So go watch and review!

Budding Prospects on Amazon

Sunday, February 26, 2017


   Oh my goodness! Okay, I finally started watching Timeless. Using Hulu, I'm catching up on this amazing show created by Eric Kripke. Now before we get started, I would like to take a minute to thank Eric Kripke for creating my favorite TV show, Supernatural. Eric, you did something no one else could do and will never do again. That show is just fantastic and my life wouldn't be the same without it, so thank you. (Hey everybody, go watch Supernatural on Netflix/The CW! FYI, you're hooked 3 mins into the pilot.)


   Anyways, back to Timeless! Now, usually with shows I would review and talk about each episode individually but this show runs together so smoothly, the first six episodes (how far I've gotten) feel like one kind of long episode. No joke, I wasn't even sure the show was an hour because it felt like I was moving through it so quickly last night. I thought about doing just one long post about everything I've seen so far but I'm going to break it up into two. This post will explain the pilot and the next one will go through episodes 2-6. Every episode begins by showing you the event in history, the way we all know it, that will be dealt with over the next hour. In the pilot, we start with the crash of the Hindenburg.

   First, we meet history professor Lucy Preston, played by the brilliant Abigail Spencer. After hearing news that she won't be receiving tenure, she goes home to her sister and very sick mother (who just so happened to have built the department she works for). Cut to a warehouse with a very large, white sphere in the middle of the room and lots of millennials working on computers. This is where we meet Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett), coder extraordinaire and all-around introvert. In the middle of his boss telling him he should ask out one of his colleagues, Jiya, a group of men storm into the warehouse, guns blazing. The men, who are carrying a mysterious diary with them, kidnap Anthony, the boss who encourages inter-office romance, and force him into the large white sphere. With Rufus and Jiya watching from a hiding spot in the corner of the warehouse, the men and Anthony disappear as the sphere seems to vanish into thin air.

   Homeland Security shows up at Lucy's door while she's having drinks with her sister, asking for her help. She is taken to the warehouse and put in a waiting room with Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), a soldier who also has no idea what's going on and won't stop calling her ma'am. Finally they are brought into the main room and shown the security tapes of the break-in. After witnessing the unbelieveable, the company owner, Connor Mason (Paterson Joseph), comes out and tries to explain everything scientifically. Luckily, for those who haven't studied physics or watched Doctor Who, a government agent says, "Basically Mr. Mason built a time machine and didn't tell the U.S. Government about it." Lucy and Wyatt are then briefed about Garcia Flynn, an ex-NSA agent who apparently killed his family and is the man behind the robbery/kidnapping. It's been determined that Flynn took the time machine to May 6, 1937, the crash of the Hindenburg. Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus are then told they will using the other time machine, nicknamed "The Lifeboat" to go after Flynn, because who doesn't have a spare time machine just incase the new one is stolen by terrorists. Rufus, being the realist that he is, questions why he has to go and points out that he's black and claims "there is nowhere in American history that will be awesome for me." Side note: I love that Kripke and the show address this. They don't gloss over it in any episode or pretend like everything is fine. Back to time travel! After going through the whole ordeal of "time travel can't be real, you're all crazy," Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus are costumed up, ready to go back to the Hindenburg.

   Landing is not the best experience so once everyone (Wyatt) stops getting sick, the search for Flynn begins. Using Lucy's historical knowledge and some of the locals, the team is able to track down Flynn to the landing/crash site of the Hindenburg. They alert an officer about the dangers of Flynn, using the best excuse ever ("This is Dr. Dre, I'm Nurse Jackie, we're from General Hospital. This man has the Spanish Flu."), and everyone splits up to find him. However, they're all too late. The Hindenburg lands gracefully and totally not in flames like it should have. Turns out Flynn saved the zeppelin from crashing so that he could plant a bomb and blow it up the next morning when it takes off again with super important people on board. The crew end up in jail but break out just in time to get onto the Hindenburg so they can try and find the bomb and disarm it. Lucy and Rufus storm the pilot's cabin, claiming they are the Anarchist Black Cross and demand that the ship land immediately. As the pilot's start to land, the Hindenburg blows up anyway. Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus are able to escape but Lucy finally runs into Flynn. He shows her the mysterious diary and she realizes it's all in her handwriting but she hasn't written it yet. Oh time travel problems. Flynn tries to convince her that he's not the bad guy and tells her she needs to questions why the government really chose her and what Rittenhouse is. Wyatt arrives and tries to kill Flynn but only succeeds in injuring him. Flynn gets away and Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus go back to present day.

  When they return, Lucy tries to ask about Rittenhouse like Flynn told her to but no one understands what she's talking about. Instead, the team is told they will be called when they're needed again but for now to just go home. History has changed some since the Hindenburg was destroyed in a different way but it doesn't seem to have changed much. Wyatt and Lucy walk out of the warehouse while Rufus goes into a meeting room with Connor Mason. Mr. Mason asks for something Rufus has and Rufus pulls out a recording device. Turns out, he was recording everything that happened on the trip. He asks Mr. Mason why Rittenhouse (WHAAAAAAT?) needs recordings of Wyatt and Lucy and Mason tells him not to mention it. Meanwhile, Lucy returns home, hoping to pick up the conversation she was having with her sister. However, when she walks into the kitchen, she sees her mother standing there fixing something to eat. Yep, that's right her super sick mom who was in a coma about 45 minutes ago. Turns out history did change. Now, Lucy has a healthy mother but her sister never existed. Without even being given the chance to process it all, Lucy is called right back to the warehouse to chase down Flynn again. Cut to black. Dun-dun-dun!

   Eric Kripke is a genius at pilot episodes. He knows how much humor to have, how much action to put in, and the cast always seems to mesh well together. Timeless is no different.

   Keep coming back for more on Timeless but for now, go watch it! It's on the fence of getting cancelled by NBC so please tweet about it using #RenewTimeless and use any way you can to watch the first season!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

So The Prime Minister is...? This and Other Thoughts From "The Crown" Finale

The Crown from Netflix
What the what? As the first season of this Netflix hit comes to a close, it doesn't really come to a close at all. We're left with a new Prime Minister with quite an affinity for drugs, Phillip and Elizabeth's marriage on the rocks, and Peter Townsend heading back to Brussels after ending his affair with Margaret. Yeah, this whole thing was kind of a downer. But it was a downer in the best way possible! Leaving the audience feeling down was their biggest cliffhanger. We're so sad about Phillip feeling left out and less-than, we're sad about Peter and Margaret breaking up (well, some people, not me), we're freaked out about the Prime Minister sitting either passed out or dead from a drug overdose. It's such a gloomy ending that leaves us crying for more. The whole season really is gloomy but that's  only because Peter Morgan does his job right. Were this show about Americans, we would have quit halfway through the first episode. But we love (semi)biographical British pieces, we eat them up! Even though they might make us feel like crap afterwards. But we love feeling like crap because that's the story, that's London. It's grey and foggy and rainy. But we are fascinated with the monarchy that we fought so hard to get away from. And Claire Foy and Matt Smith play it beautifully. Top it all off with a title sequence sent from TV heaven and cinematography to end all shows. I can't wait for the gloom that season two brings.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I'm Back!

    Hello and welcome to a revamped blog! The once titled "Guilty Pleasures" has now become "Professional Binge-Watcher" because come on, who wouldn't want that job? Granted, it's not an actual job that I get paid for but a girl can dream.

    Now, it's been almost three years since I last posted to this blog. Three years ago, I was skipping my college classes and spending all my days at a cafe inside a grocery store. I was depressed, eating A LOT, and I found all my joy in watching Netflix while I was supposed to be in class and then blogging about it. It was the only thing I felt I could do right. I even started doing reviews (for free) for a site based in the UK. The schedule of it got to be overwhelming for me, especially since I was working at Barnes & Noble, nannying, and still pretending I was going to school so I stopped. Long story short, I ended up finally seeking help and seeing a therapist, I took a certification test for me to be a Special Ed. teaching assistant and I got another part-time job at a middle school. I was working three jobs for a few years, officially taking a break from school, and my life was getting better.

    Fast forward three years to now. I got a full time job as an Instructional Assistant at a great school, I'm much happier, and I have some wonderful friends. I'm still working on that whole "finish school and get a degree thing" but that is my ultimate goal. In the meantime, I've been looking to start writing again so I decided to pick back up my blog! I'm hoping this will help me keep a creative outlet and hopefully be something to use to jump into another career path. We'll see what the future holds!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

'The Sing Off' is Returning: Celebrating the A Cappella craze that continues to sweep the nation

   A Cappella nerds, you can now relax. In honor of Music in Our Schools Month I have a very exciting announcement for you: The Sing Off is coming back!!! Last week, it was confirmed that NBC's best reality singing competition show will be returning for season 4. The ratings may not say it's the best but as someone who loves hearing people that can actually sing and have to prove that by singing a cappella every week, this show is THE BEST. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, it is a singing competition for a cappella (singing without music, or to quote Pitch Perfect "it's all from our mouths!") groups where each week they must arrange and perform a cover of a song that fits within the theme of the week. They also have to incorporate choreography but that mostly just means moving around on the stage, not actual dance moves. As long as they can put on a show and sound good doing it, it works. Also, returning to The Sing Off will be host Nick Lachey (former 98 Degrees frontman), and judges Ben Folds, Sarah Bareillis, and Boys II Men singer, Shawn Stockman.

The Sing Off season 3 winners, Pentatonix

   Lucky for me, and other true music lovers, a cappella singing has become much more prevalent in today's pop culture than it used to be. College a cappella groups have been around for ages but over the past few years, our eyes have been opened to the wonders of live beat-boxing mixed with some mighty fine harmonies. Glee, the musical, drama-filled, hour-long comedy, which follows a high school glee club, (they also call themselves a show choir but they are NOT a show choir), started the latest phenomenon of a cappella fever in the fall of 2009 and everything else soon followed. The Sing Off also premiered in 2009, as a part of NBC's winter line-up (NBC probably didn't want FOX to get the one-up on this new musical craze, but alas, they did). While Glee has created their own chart-topping hits (mostly because of Lea Michelle's Broadway pipes and Darren Criss's mere presence, let alone his beautiful voice), The Sing Off knocked it out of the park with season 3 winner, Pentatonix. If you haven't heard the completely insane arrangements this group has done, get ready for your mind to be blown. I'm serious, what this group is able to do is not humanly possible. The best part about them? IT'S ONLY FIVE PEOPLE. In a regular college a cappella group you usually have somewhere around 12 people, with multiple people on each part. They have 1 person on each part (vocal angels Kirsti Maldonado, Scott Hoying, and Mitch Grassi), a bass, the wonderfully deep-voiced Avi Kaplan, and the most ridiculous beat-boxer you've ever heard in your life, Kevin "K.O." Olusola. He can beat-box, and play the cello at the same time. He also speaks chinese. Did I mention he's awesome? You can check out their website and their YouTube channel if you don't believe me. But just incase you don't want to click those links, let me show you some examples of their awesomeness right here:

They can arrange medleys like nobody's business
"As Long As You Love Me/Wide Awake"

They can follow the trends of today's music
"Thrift Shop"

They can show some old school love
"N*SYNC Medley"

They can make a song suspenseful
"Dog Days Are Over"

And they can make R&B songs simple yet the most powerful and sexy thing you've ever heard
"Let's Get It On"

Let's be honest, if you don't have chills running through you after those last two, you shouldn't be on this earth. 

   Following the need of more a cappella in our lives, the 2012 hit comedy Pitch Perfect was released, which tells the story of Anna Kendrick as Beca, a rebellious DJ who turns the super traditional Barden Bellas, a female a cappella group at her college, completely upside down. The movie was not just a hit because of the crazy good cast (Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Adam DeVine, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, I could list everyone in the credits), but also because of the amazing music that it provided. The movie is still making profits even after the DVD release back in December, the album has stayed in the Top 50 (reaching number 1 for soundtracks and number 3 in Billboard's top 200) and has has 3 chart-topping singles. The most popular, "Cups", sang by Kendrick and accompanied by herself and a plastic cup, has now been rerecorded for the radio.

   The movie also gave some fame to a local (well local for me) college a capella group, the University of Virginia Hullabahoos (they're the guys in the khakis and crazy shirt robes things singing "The Final Countdown"). UVA is known for having some of the best a cappella groups (one of their female groups, The Sil'hooettes, is one of the top a cappella groups in the nation right now) but they aren't the only school to produce national award winning groups. James Madison University has The Madison Project, Exit 245, and The BluesTones; Tufts has Beelzebubs (their fame started on The Sing Off and they went on to become "The Warblers" on Glee), Yale has The Whiffenpoofs, Oregon has On The Rocks, Brigham-Young University has Vocal Point, I could go on forever.

The UVA Hullabahoos posing with Elizabeth Banks

Seeing the way people have embraced this new (but really not so new) style of music has warmed my heart and given me some faith that not all hope is lost (especially when I see artists like Taylor Swift are still selling albums). Let's keep celebrating the truly talented people in the music industry! Make everyone sing live all the time, get rid of auto-tuning, have every artist produce at least one a cappella song on every album and play it on the radio all the time! Keep shows like The Sing Off on the air and kick American Idol and The X Factor off! (The Voice can stay for now but only because I love Adam Levine and those super cool chairs) Ok, I know most of that will never happen, but what's wrong with having a little hope? We need to support the talent that is hiding away on our college campuses, even in our high schools, and keep music, good music I might add, available to the young people of today.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Big Bang Theory turns dramatic; Community turns crazy; Justin Timberlake takes over Jimmy Fallon

I wanted to share with you the reviews I did for Big Bang Theory and Community I did last week! Like I said, I'll keep trying to post reaps here (I know I have failed at that so far) but once I can get this new schedule under control I will definitely be back! Hope you all are well and I hope you enjoy the reviews! Tell your friends!

To see all my reviews, check out my page on TVandFilmReview here!

Coming soon: How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, The Mindy Project

And just for fun: If you were in a coma last week and missed Timberweek on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, here is an amazing BuzzFeed article to tell you all about the best week of late night television in the history of the world. 

History of Rap 4 happened. After seeing those face, need I say more?

JT mixed up SexyBack and performed it with the Ragtime Gals (I like to think it was in honor of the Barbershop Harmony Society Mid-Atlantic District competition in New Jersey this past weekend to qualify for internationals. That's right, I know my bshop!)

And he sang! Every night was a new song from his new album, The 20/20 Experience, and Friday night was a medley of his older stuff (unfortunately there was no N*SYNC reunion that night, but we did get to see Jimmy fangirl all over him after the performance which was just as good).