Where you line up, I will follow: ATX TV Fest 2015 (Part 3)

Part 1 recap here || Part 2 recap here

Sunday

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The last day of the fest, we went to the live Dawson’s Creek script reading. The cast was a surprise and there were rumors that actual DC cast members might be in attendance… I doubted that would actually happen. In line, we speculated about who might be reading what parts and I guessed that the festival would pull in favorites like Mae Whitman (Parenthood), Nick Wechsler (Revenge), and Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights). 

It turns out, we were all partially right. There was a cast member on hand – Kerr Smith, who joined the cast in Season 2 as Jack, participated in the reading. Mae and Nick both were on the panel but instead of Matt Lauria from FNL, they brought in Grandma Saracen, Riggins brother and Tyra’s sister.

We ended up in the front row – amazing – and it was one of my favorite events of the weekend. They gender-flipped the four main characters so Mae Whitman was Dawson Leery and Kerr Smith played Jen (so perfect!). Here’s the full cast and a few pictures:

Mae Whitman as Dawson; Suits‘ Patrick J. Adams as Joey; Rectify‘s Abigail Spencer as Pacey; Dawson’s Creek co-star Kerr Smith — who played Jack — stepping into the role of his former character’s best friend, Jen; Friday Night Lights alum Louanne Stephens as Grams; Derek Phillips as Mitch Leery and Stacey Oristano as Gail Leery; as well as Gilmore Girls’ Arielle Kebbelas Tamara; Orphan Black’s Kristian Bruun as Bessie and Nellie and Revenge‘s Nick Wechsler as Bodie and Mr. Gold. Series creator Kevin Williamson served as the narrator. (Hollywood Reporter)

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Since we were in the front row, we were able to grab some of the name cards when we left and Louanne Stephens (Grams/Grandma Saracen) gave us her name card and the script she read from! Melissa let me keep all of them and I forgive ATX Fest for spelling Jen’s last name wrong. (It’s Lindley, not Linley.) 😉

That was a good way to wrap up the weekend. We wanted to try and sneak into the Fox Comedy Preview with The Grinder and Grandfathered but the script reading ran a little long and we couldn’t make it into the Alamo to see Josh Peck and Fred Savage. We did see Josh Peck walk past us that morning in the hotel lobby. He then walked outside and a gaggle of girls not so discreetly tried to casually follow him down the street.

We also witnessed a horribly awkward exchange between some man and this woman who is on the new show RosewoodHe came up to her in the lobby and started effusively saying how much he loved her show and she was so great on it and she had to stop him and say that he had her confused with someone else because her show hadn’t aired yet.

Hahaha. Sorry, Jaina Lee Ortiz. You handled it very gracefully and so sweetly. (I believe she told him, “Oh, I wish I were her. You were so excited!”) We thought it was hilarious.

That wrapped up our #atxseason4 experience for 2015. As always, I had a lot of fun but I felt like maybe it’s getting too big? It was a lot of people and a lot of sweaty line waiting and this year, more than in the previous two, waiting in line and not getting into some things I was hoping to see. The lack of organization was a big issue for me and it bothered me that we weren’t sent an attendee survey this time around to help give feedback and suggestions, like we have in the past. I won’t be attending in 2016 because I’ll have a newborn baby (oh yeah, by the way, I found out I was pregnant three days after getting back from this trip!) but may return for 2017, if badge prices haven’t tripled in price by then. Thanks for the memories, ATX Fest! Hope to see you again in the future. 🙂

How I Met Your Mother: Don’t Let the Finale Ruin the Rest of the Series

I was reading Vulture today and in Margaret Lyon’s Stay Tuned column, she gave advice to someone named Alex who just finished Season 1 of How I Met Your Mother and after hearing that the finale was awful, asked if it was worth continuing to watch the show. Margaret felt so burned by the finale that she said no, stop watching. I disagree.

I was burned by the finale too. In fact, I wrote essentially a dissertation on it and my feelings have not shifted. But I think if I was talking to anyone that was unsure about committing to the full series based on hearing bad things about the finale, even though they loved the first season, I would suggest that they try to sample some of the best episodes of the following seasons. For HIMYM, there are solid episodes throughout every season – even the later years where it gets weird and the tone changes.

My suggested viewing of HIMYM is all of season 1. Hands down, a solid and lovely season that withstands multiple viewings.

   

I’ve limited my list of favorites from the rest of the series to my top 2 per season, plus a bonus episode (or two). I think beyond season 1, seasons 2 and 4 are worth watching in their entirety but if you’re going to take a sampling approach, try these:

Season 2:

  • Slap Bet
  • Swarley
  • Bonus: It’s a tie! Showdown & Lucky Penny

Season 3:

  • How I Met Everyone Else
  • Spoiler Alert
  • Bonus: The Bracket

Season 4:

  • Three Days of Snow
  • The Front Porch
  • Bonus: It’s a tie! Woooo! & Naked Man

Season 5:

  • Duel Citizenship
  • Robots vs. Wrestlers
  • Bonus: Girls vs. Suits

Season 6:

  • Bad News
  • Legendaddy
  • Bonus: Hopeless

Season 7:

  • The Best Man
  • The Magician’s Code
  • Bonus: Ducky Tie

Season 8:

  • The Final Page
  • The Time Travelers
  • Bonus: Something New

Season 9:

  • Unpause
  • How Your Mother Met Me
  • Bonus: Last Forever

Where you line up, I will follow: ATX TV Fest 2015 (Part 1)

Getting through ATX Television Festival is like running a marathon. Mind you, I’ve never run a marathon. Running isn’t my thing. But I imagine a marathon would be exhausting, often thrilling, sometimes challenging and you would sweat a lot but overall, you would feel rewarded by the experience. Which is a decent way to summarize my ATX Fest trips. Throw in some BBQ and queso and that paints a picture.

This was my third visit to Austin and the festival’s fourth “season”. (Read about previous experiences here.) My best friend and I have been making the yearly trip to ATX Fest ever since they announced the Boy Meets World reunion in 2013. This year, they sold out of weekend badges and the crowd seemed to nearly double in size. We found it wasn’t uncommon throughout the weekend to discover that most people we met had never even heard of the festival before a few months ago — this was very much a newcomers year due to the Gilmore Girls reunion (more on that later).

We bought our badges to attend this year at last year’s fest. They were $99 (a discount only available during the festival and that went up this year – again, more on that later) and even though programming wouldn’t be announced until much later, we had high hopes. We trusted that it would be awesome because the girls running ATX Fest (Caitlyn and Emily) had done so well in the past – Boy Meets World, Everwood, Orange is the New Black, Archer, Parenthood, writers and creatives from New Girl, The Mindy Project, Community… I could go on and on. Plus, there were some signs that this year could be the year for Gilmore Girls. Amy Sherman-Palladino was scheduled to be at last year’s fest but had to back out. Lauren Graham was a surprise guest at the Parenthood panel. We felt like something was in the works and had our fingers crossed… and it totally panned out.

When they first made the announcement, I was so excited but we knew we wanted more. The original plan was to have showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino and the two leads, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. We immediately started wishing that they would add in other cast members – that show was such an amazing ensemble and the townspeople of Stars Hollow would so great. Our wishes came true and they added in like 15 other cast members. We were thrilled but the press the reunion received leading up to the weekend made me realize that Gilmore Girls was a much bigger show than I realized. I knew I loved it and how important it was to me growing up and that definitely was the case for about a thousand other people in attendance too. I’ll circle back (in part 2 of this blog post). Let me take this chronologically.

Thursday

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I never go to the Thursday night events. The first year we came (2013) it wasn’t open to the public but there was a party you could go to. Skipped it. Last year, it was some TNT show I wasn’t interested in and an after-party and we chose to go eat migas instead. This year, it was some USA show I didn’t care about and instead, I met up with a Twitter friend turned human life friend and fellow ATX Fest goer Lynn and her friend Kayla to go eat delicious BBQ at Salt Lick. Solid choice. They didn’t host any official parties this year because it was just too many people so didn’t miss anything there. Plus, brisket. No regrets.

Friday

We started Friday bright and early going to pick up our badges from the registration table. Melissa didn’t get in town until late Thursday so we missed the Thursday pick up times. I’m going to write this a lot in this post and it was my general feeling throughout but … things were different in previous years. Before, we just walked up and got our badges, no lines, it was a quick and painless process. This year, not so much. We waited in the first of many, many long lines throughout the weekend. It took us about 30-45 minutes to get our badge. The system they had wasn’t flowing very efficiently – bags were not pre-stuffed with the program or copies of Entertainment Weekly, you had to fill out a slip of paper to verify your information and they had to print out your Fast Passes.

Constructive feedback #1: Why didn’t the mass of volunteers pre-stuff attendee bags? Why weren’t Fast Passes printed out in advance and then just set up a separate “Help” desk if they were wrong or something on a badge had to be adjusted?

We finally got our badges and booked it to a new venue for the fest, the Google Fiber building for Brooklyn Nine-Nine (one of my wishlist shows for the fest this year!). Not too far away but definitely a much farther walk than the distance between the Alamo Drafthouse on 6th and the SFA Hotel. I liked the Google Fiber building and the Google staff/ATX volunteers on hand were smart and efficient. We had no problems with lines or finding a seat and didn’t have to wait long before we were let in the building.

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They showed the season finale and then showrunner Dan Goor and actresses Chelsea Peretti and Melissa Fumero answered questions on stage. The moderator was only okay – I felt he sometimes talked in circles and directed the majority of his questions to Dan Goor but Dan and Chelsea were both really funny. Melissa didn’t talk as much (it seemed like it was a long night the night before) but was a good addition to the panel. Stephanie Beatriz was supposed to be there but had to cancel. Audience questions took a weird turn when someone got on an incredibly random soapbox about female characters on TV getting pregnant (not applicable in any way to B99) but the panelists were good sports about it.

After B99, we made our way back to the hotel and got in line for The Final Finale panel with Marta Kauffman (Friends), Graham Yost (Justified) and the creators of Queer as Folk. The moderator Jarrett Weisselman from Buzzfeed was great and one of my faves throughout the fest. You can tell he loves TV, he was passionate with his questions, asked good follow-ups and seemed to really listen. Some moderators seemed like they had everything plotted out on their notepad and were just preparing for the next question instead of listening to the answer. I thought the Final Finale panel was fascinating but we couldn’t see anything because it wasn’t a very elevated stage. I don’t think anyone other than the first few rows could see. I think my favorite tidbit from that panel was Marta Kauffman revealing that Chandler and Monica sleeping together was going to be a funny, one-time thing but the reaction of the live audience while they were filming it was so enormous, they had to stop production for a while to let everyone collect themselves and she said it was like the audience realized they had been waiting for them to get together. They weren’t “shipping” them or begging the creators to pair them up but when they did, it was like something clicked in the collective minds of the audience to decide they were meant to be.

With the way things were scheduled, we had to miss the Pitch Competition this year because it was the same time as Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We’ve gone to the pitches the past two years because they were always on Sunday and at a good time programming wise where we felt like we could without missing much. It didn’t work out that way this year. Thankfully, we met a guy in line who had gone and gave us a few summaries of the pitches so we felt like we were kinda there in spirit.

After the Final Finale pitch, I wanted to go to the Boy Meets Girl Meets World panel because yes, I am a 30 year old woman who sometimes watches and enjoys Girl Meets World. We saw the two adorable stars of that show in the lobby and later saw Ben Savage walking around the hotel but everyone was mobbing poor Cory Matthews so we left him alone. Anyway, the line was so long for the GMW panel that there was no chance of getting in after ours was done so we decided to go get food instead. We walked outside the hotel and up to the corner and spotted Marta Kauffman taking a picture with some fans. There were only about 3 girls there so we decided that she didn’t seem mobbed or in a rush to leave and waited to talk to her. We thanked her for coming and told her how much we liked the Final Finale panel and asked for a selfie, which she very kindly agreed to.

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NBD, hanging with the creator of “Friends”

After we met Marta, we took a cab to South Congress. If we had more time and it wasn’t 90+, we would have just walked – it’s not that far. But we were sweating, hungry and didn’t want to take too long so we opted for convenience. We went to Gueros for fantastic tacos and mucho queso and that was a good call. We took pictures near the “I love you so much” wall and then pretty much needed to get back so we could make it to Drunk History at 4:30.

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Melissa had a Fast Pass and I didn’t so we had to wait in separate lines and wanted to get there early. Apparently, it wasn’t early enough. We got in line around 3:45 and the non-Fast Pass line was already around the building and almost about to turn a corner. I wasn’t too far back but the Fast Pass line was long too and after waiting for awhile, we were told we weren’t getting in. (Melissa got in because a Fast Pass guarantees your spot.) I was bummed because I wanted to go but I went back to the hotel lobby at SFA and charged my phone, which badly needed it. My battery throughout the weekend was constantly nearing 0% so it was nice to have some charging stations available.

I met a girl who also didn’t make it into Drunk History and was charging her phone in the lobby and we talked for a bit. She was very nice and bought me a drink so we had afternoon cocktails and chatted until Melissa came back. When Melissa returned, we spotted Kevin from the Gilmore Guys podcast (he has bright red hair and I recognized him from Twitter) walking with EMILY FREAKIN’ GILMORE. Obviously we were excited. Kelly Bishop is awesome. (Also, listening to the podcast, I know he’s a huge fan of hers so I was also excited for him. Ha.) A few people were asking for pictures but we didn’t want to bother her so we waited and then the crowd seemed to thin a bit when she was alone by the elevators and we made our move. There were 3-4 girls in front of us and then we politely asked if we could take a picture with her too. She smiled and agreed and said she had to find her angle before we took the selfie so we all tried to adjust our faces to find the most flattering angle.

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Emily freakin’ Gilmore

We thanked her for coming and told her how excited we were for the reunion and she said that she was thrilled and couldn’t wait for it. Kelly Bishop! She was on my favorite TV show and my favorite movie (Dirty Dancing!) and I got to talk to her and that alone made the weekend worth it for me. Just very cool.

We sat back down in the upstairs lobby area and Melissa ran to the bathroom. When she came back, she told me that Judy Greer was going in the bathroom when she was coming out and told me I should go in there so of course, I did. I had to pee too so that worked out well. Judy Greer! The frenemy/best friend/sassy assistant/guest star in everything – her IMDb page is ridiculous.

When I came out to wash my hands, she was standing at the sink, touching up some makeup. I looked over and said, “Oh, hey – I loved your audiobook, by the way.” And she smiled and we talked for a few minutes about her book and how much her mom likes to listen to it. I said I was looking forward to seeing her show and thanked her for coming and she was very sweet. We were in the bathroom so you know, I didn’t ask her for a picture or anything because that’s awkward and I’m not a weirdo. But we talked casually and that was cool.

After that, we felt obligated to go to the FX Comedy Night Showcase, which featured her show Married and also You’re the Worst and a new show, Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll. Plus, the alternative was the annual Friday Night Lights tailgate and it was so hot and neither of us were FNL watchers so we opted for air-conditioning instead. I slightly regretted that decision when they announced a last minute surprise Hep Alien (Gilmore Girls band) show at the tailgate BUT the whole thing ended up on YouTube anyway so it’s okay. More comfortable indoors but still… #HepAlienForever.

I’ve been meaning to watch You’re the Worst for a while now but have just never gotten around to it – once it starts streaming on Hulu, I’ll catch up on the first season. It was a critically acclaimed show and I loooovvee telling people that they are the worst but the ads just never appealed to me so I didn’t watch it. They showed the season 1 finale which I probably would have enjoyed more if I knew more about the show. It wasn’t my favorite thing ever but I’ll give it a chance. The cast were charming during the Q&A after and I was surprised that the main guy is British. That’s how little I knew about that show. Very pleasant accent, that one.

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I’ve seen a few episodes of Married with Judy Greer, Nat Faxon, Brett Gelman, Jenny Slate, Paul Reiser… there are a lot of random people on that show. I wasn’t 100% sold on it. It’s a pretty dark comedy and maybe I’m just not jaded enough or haven’t been married long enough, but it wasn’t the greatest thing to watch even though I like everyone on it. They showed the season 2 premiere and it was okay. The Q&A was funny.

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They are adding a new cast member this season, this actress named Sarah Burns and she was hilarious. She is kind of like Judy Greer in that she has played the best friend in several movies that I love and own (like I Love You, Man and Going the Distance).

See? Sarah Burns, the brunette standing there next to Rashida Jones.

She wasn’t even in the episode they screened but she really livened up the panel. Brett Gelman was also great – he ended their panel with an intense verbatim monologue from Scandal. If you can’t picture who Brett Gelman is, he was on the series finale of Mad Men. This guy.

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We ducked out before the Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll screening. It was late. We were tired. We were starving. And we just didn’t care that much about Denis Leary’s new show. So before the next screening started, we took off and made our way to the Roaring Fork, the restaurant inside the SFA hotel. We both ordered salads (and a side of fries) and my body was thankful for some vegetables. At the table behind us, the cast of You’re the Worst was having a big group dinner and the two female leads went outside to smoke and stood directly at the window next to where we were eating. We realized with that proximity that we couldn’t discreetly IMDb either of them because they could legit turn and see our phones. So, we held off on doing that until they left and realized one of the girls was in Pitch Perfect. That will help with six degrees of separation games.

After we ate, we met up with one of my old work friends Cassie who moved down to Austin and had a drink before crashing at our Airbnb for the night. That was one day that felt like it was packed with 3 days worth of activity. I was covered in a thick layers of musky sweat and my feet were tired, blistered and filthy from wearing flip flops. I definitely needed to crash before Saturday.

Part 2 here || Part 3 here

fall 2014 TV roundup: Sunday Funday

For my last entry in this thread, I’m skipping ahead to Sunday because I don’t watch anything live on Friday (although they have moved Glee to Fridays, which means I have another show that I watch sometime during the weekend) and only watch SNL on Saturdays.

sunday

I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s hilarious, a true ensemble and feels fresh to me every week. I was worried when I heard Andy Samberg was going to star in his own TV show because I didn’t love his character work on SNL (beyond his stellar Mark Wahlberg impression and his work with the Lonely Island).

“Say hi to your mother for me.”

 

I also knew his movie roles, with the exception of the understated Celeste & Jesse Forever and a great small role in I Love You Man, were broad and not really my taste (see Hot Rod and That’s My Boy). But wow, Mike Schur has the magic touch. Everything he is involved with becomes one of my favorite shows – The Office, Parks and Rec, and now Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I even give him partial credit for the success of my beloved Mindy Project because of his friendship with Mindy Kaling. God bless you, Mose.

Here, enjoy some Brooklyn Nine-Nine gifs:

 

 

I feel like I’ve said my piece about Mulaney in the past so I won’t go into it here other than to say – it’s not so bad that I can’t watch it. I think some people have made it sound like it’s a truckload of garbage. It’s not. I am just disappointed by it every week because I know how funny he is and the show is just blahhhh.

Mulaney, the human, is great. Watch his stand-up, please. Looks like Fox is burning off the episodes at 7:00 PM on Sundays so I doubt it will see a second season but if there was going to be, a major retooling would be required.

Still love you, John. Thanks for being dreamy and a really nice guy when we met. I will continue to follow your comedy (and you, your wife and your adorable puppy on Instagram.)

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Oh, Revenge. I’ve pretty much stopped watching this season because it was too much of the same, although the twist at the end of last season was pretty awesome. (No spoilers.) It’s campy fun but not enough for me to watch live and I found even though I was recording it, I was just not getting around to watching the episodes. I occasionally read recaps to keep me up to date on what’s happening and maybe during the summer, I’ll binge on Hulu or something but for now, I know that Emily will keep scheming, Nolan will be quippy, everyone will dress fabulously and I’m sure at least one more person will die this season. #drama

We don’t subscribe to HBO currently (we have done 3 free months here and there in the past) but like, many other Americans, have a friends’ HBO Go password so I can actually watch this season of Girls and the new show, Togetherness. The first episodes of both shows this season were good – not amazing but I’ll probably keep up with the episodes as the season goes on. And when Veep and Silicon Valley come back on Sundays in April, we’ll watch those too.

That’s it for my fall TV posts… and it’s about damn time, considering it’s January. 🙂

fall 2014 TV roundup: TGIT

continuing my day by day breakdown of fall TV… we’re up to Thursday night!

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ABC this year has a new marketing slogan for their Thursday night line-up: TGIT. Thank God It’s Thursday. A play on their beloved 90s TGIF Friday night block, Thursday night has been taken over by Shonda Rhimes. From 8:00 PM until 11:00 PM, ABC is all ShondaLand, all the time. 

Up front, I will say that I do not regularly watch the first two hours of this block. Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal are both shows I have enjoyed in the past but are not watch every week shows for me. When Grey’s debuted, I watched religiously for the first 3 seasons. I remember we would have watching parties in college and obsessed over George and it was great. But somewhere around the George and Izzie pairing, I started losing interest. Plus, the time slot shift from Sunday to Thursday pitted GA up against my beloved NBC Thursday shows like The Office and I found that I would much rather laugh than cry when it comes to my entertainment. I have caught episodes here and there over the years – I watched the plane crash, I went through a binge catch up on Hulu a few summers ago of more recent seasons and I watched Cristina’s last episode in real time. But Seattle Grace is just not must-watch for me anymore.

I have always been hit and miss with Scandal. I avoided the first season. The ads were over the top and I had other things to watch at the same time. But the buzz on Twitter swayed me to try it out over the summer between seasons one and two and I watched every episode on Hulu in a short amount of time. I was hooked on the drama and the intrigue and in fact, the over the top crazy factor. I watched season two but found that week to week, it just wasn’t as interesting to me. I didn’t live tweet about it so it didn’t have that kind of appeal. I think binge watching is the best way for me to take in Scandal. So, that’s the view I take on it. I usually wait until summer when I hit a dry patch in good TV to watch and find a TV show to catch up on and that’s Scandal for me.

But How to Get Away with Murder is a different story. I will watch that show when it airs or shortly there after. While it’s not my favorite new show of the season (black-ish takes that title), I am hooked. I am invested in the ongoing mystery, like the way that the weekly cases come back and tie in with the overall story, and enjoy seeing actors from other shows I’ve liked in this world. What’s up, Paris Gellar?

Over on CBS, I’ve already written about The Big Bang Theorywhich CBS started out on Monday nights this season. My husband and I also really like watching Elementary. Some friends told us about it during the first season and we started watching near the end of the year. I think it’s an interesting take on an old story and I like the characters. Pretty standard detective show but enjoyable.

As I mentioned above, Thursday nights for me used to be dedicated to NBC. The whole “Must See TV” lineup that they pushed for years is something I grew up with. My mom and I watched Friends and the many shows they tried after it – The Single Guy, Boston Common, Jesse, Will and Grace, Scrubs. (Some more successful than others, obviously.) In college, I started watching The Office and 30 Rock. A few years later, Parks and Recreation and Community started and those 4 shows together are some of my all time favorite series, all in one night. But the ratings weren’t great and a lot of moving around happened. While they were my favorite shows and critically acclaimed, popularity wise, they weren’t as popular as shows like TBBT. 

NBC tried a lot of new shows on Thursdays that didn’t work out and that trend continued this year. While I think A to Z is charming, I knew it wouldn’t last long in that time slot. Bad Judge wasn’t for me but I know people who have enjoyed it… odd pairing, matching those two shows up. I think they should have paired A to Z with Marry Me but alas. It looks like both A to Z and Bad Judge are canceled.

I’m crazy excited for one of my favorite shows to come back in January, Parks and Recreation. I will forever love the show that brought my beloved Chris Pratt back into my TV life after Everwood and his brief stint on the last season of The O.C. I just lurve every character on that show and I’m so sad it is ending this season. Can’t wait to see how they handle the time jump that happened at the end of last season and very excited to hear the news that dreamboat Jon Hamm will appear in more episodes.

Interested in more of this kind of dorky TV talk? Make sure to read about Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, too. 

fingers crossed: ATX Television Festival 2015 wish list

Hi, my name is Melissa and I’m a TV nerd.

(Hi Melissa.)

You may have figured that out scrolling through this blog considering the majority of my posts have been about TV.

(Yes, I did notice that trend.)

And my blog is named after a song that was on a great episode of 30 Rock

(What song?)

I’m glad you asked. Here, watch this:

So, you know that I love TV. And I’ve been to two years now of the ATX Television Festival in Austin. I bought tickets my first year (the festival’s second ‘season’) after hearing about the Boy Meets World reunion. My best friend and I loved the first year but wanted to wait to see who they announced for 2014 before buying tickets and they didn’t disappoint – Everwood reunion! We obviously went to that too and it was even better than the year before. We decided then and there that we would go ahead and buy tickets for 2015 during the festival at a ridiculously low rate of $99 for the weekend. The catch: We have no idea who is going to be at the 2015 festival. But we trust the ATX girls. We know they have our backs. It will be awesome no matter what.

The first wave of announcements is scheduled to be released this Thursday, November 13th. Reunions, panelists, and series… I’m freaking out a little bit with excitement.

I’ve had a list in my head of who I have been wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ for – I don’t want to jinx it or anything but let’s hope that this is putting out some good karma in the world and the announcement this week will make me a happy girl! (I fully understand and respect that some of these are probably never going to happen but a girl can dream.)

Reunions

  • GILMORE GIRLS!
  • Ugly Betty
  • Gossip Girl
  • Joan of Arcadia

I’m really just trying to reunite the ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ girls because I love them.

  • The O.C.
  • Felicity
  • Chuck
  • Party Down
  • Scrubs
  • Happy Endings

Current Series (never at ATX)

  • Mad Men
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Brooklyn Nine Nine
  • Silicon Valley
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Black-ish
  • Key and Peele
  • Veep
  • Workaholics
  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Switched at Birth
  • Marry Me
  • The Middle
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • A to Z (even though I know it’s probably canceled) 😦

Returning to ATX Series

  • The Mindy Project
  • New Girl
  • The League
  • House of Cards
  • The Strain (just because I want Corey Stoll to come back… Mmmm, Corey Stoll)

Even if none of these shows end up at the fest, I know that I’ll still have a great time. Every year, I’ve discovered new things and gone to panels of shows I don’t regularly watch or hadn’t seen before but started watching after the festival. Can’t wait to hear what they have in store for us for 2015! 🙂

fall 2014 TV roundup: Wednesday family comedies… and Nashville

Another week, another chance to look at fall TV! I’ve covered Monday and Tuesday and now it’s Wednesday’s turn. Let’s do this.

wednesday

ABC domination. This is one of the nights where I do not change the channel. I think that ABC’s Wednesday night line-up is one of the strongest on TV, starting with a show that’s always been kind of under the radar: The Middle. As someone who lives in the Midwest, this show is often very on point. Their house looks kind of like my mom’s house. The kids look like kids I grew up with. While the show hits a lot of the same beats over and over again, I like the characters (who are big without being overly cartoonish) and I root for the family. I rarely watch this show live but it’s a staple on my DVR.

I didn’t watch The Goldbergs when it premiered last season – the ads were too much Jeff Garlin yelling and I just wasn’t interested. But over the summer, I caught some reruns of the show and found it charming. It’s not a must-see for me but if I’m watching TV live Wednesdays, I will watch it or I will marathon a few episodes On Demand or on Hulu if I’m looking for something light.

I still love Modern Family, even though it’s lost some shine over the years. I consistently enjoy watching it every week, I like the cast and I think this season has been strong so far. I like the new neighbors too. I have a soft spot for Steve Zahn, though. That Thing You Do is the best.

I LOVE Black-ish! I’m going to gush about this show for a little bit. When I heard the title of this show over the summer before the fall premieres, my guard was up. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was afraid it would be one note, it would be divisive, it wouldn’t be inclusive. But from the pilot on, I was hooked. This show is hilarious. This is not a show all about race, despite what the title suggests. This is a funny, sweet, modern family sitcom. Plain and simple. Huge step up from Hang Time and Kangaroo Jack, Anthony Anderson.

TNBC flashback.

I love the dynamic between the characters and the inter-generational relationships. I think it addresses some hot button issues (spanking, for example) in a fair and funny way. They all genuinely seem to like each other, which is a complaint I’ve had about some seasons of Modern Family. And I laugh out loud every single week. It’s like a less preachy, updated Cosby Show. I totally agree with this recent article on EW.com, calling Black-ish “the sitcom we’ve needed” and listing five reasons to start watching. If you haven’t tried it, I really do recommend it.

And then there’s Nashville at 10. One of these things is not like the other, right? Not like ABC has a family drama to cap off the night – Nashville is a much better option for Wednesday than Revenge, How To Get Away with Murder, Castle or Forever. Now, if Parenthood was on ABC instead of NBC, that would be a nice fit, I think. Family themed evening of programming.

Anyway, I am hooked on the soapy nonsense of Nashville. It’s just bananas. Not as bonkers as Revenge – that’s the absolute top of the crazy chain. But even though I wouldn’t classify myself as a big country music fan, the music on this show is incredible and has expanded my tastes a bit to exploring more country artists. (Kacey Musgraves is pretty great, btw.) It’s campy fun – lots of hookups and back stabbing and emotional crying,

… although I find that there are way too many characters to keep track of and a lot of them look pretty similar. I usually DVR this and catch up later or just read the recaps on Vulture. It’s not a watch live option because 10 PM is when my husband and I flip to cable and watch The Soup and The League. Andy is not a fan of Nashville.

In the category of non-ABC Wednesday shows I tried but didn’t stick with me enough to actually keep watching: Red Band Society on Fox. I thought it was a somewhat interesting premise and the first two episodes were okay but I felt like it was Glee without singing or “What if The Fault in our Stars took place entirely in a hospital?” It was just … fine. I could see where some people would really like it but I wasn’t hooked.

Another piece to the puzzle of why I struggled with Red Band Society is the personal aspect. My husband’s brother passed away way too young from osteosarcoma several years ago and the main characters on this show include two teenage boys with the same type of cancer… maybe it’s a little too real? I don’t know. It’s different watching movies and TV shows that use cancer as a plot line when you’ve been through that in real life so for Andy’s sake, I try to steer away from those things where possible.

Another Wednesday night no-go show: The Mysteries of Laura aka Momcop/Copmom. The pilot was really painful for me. It made me miss Smash. I’d much rather have Debra Messing, draped in boatloads of scarves, than this mess. Apparently people like it though, it seems to be getting decent ratings. Shrug. But you should listen to Copmom/Momcop theme song courtesy of NPR’s Linda Holmes.

fall 2014 TV roundup: Tuesday and Happy Endings

Last week, I posted my thoughts on fall TV thus far on Monday nights and now we’re on to Tuesday!

tuesday

Let’s start with the tried and true. Two of my favorite shows on TV are on Tuesday night on Fox: New Girl and The Mindy Project. I’m still happily watching both of them and think Mindy has just gotten better every episode. I am just obsessed with Mindy Kaling and I love the cast – Ike Barinholtz, Adam Pally (RIP Happy Endings) and gahhhh Chris Messina. Here, enjoy some dancing/stripping Chris Messina:

af0fa170-3f54-0131-cbcc-6a207276f110 

 

YOU’RE WELCOME.

New Girl is struggling a bit, as it did last season… I don’t think it’s recaptured the magic it had near the end of season 1 and into season 2. I feel like they finally have a better idea of how to use Winston as a character but now they have Coach as the character that needs more character development and Damon Wayons Jr. only reminds me AGAIN of how much I miss Happy Endings. But I do still enjoy watching it. These two are priority TV. We usually watch them both live (or at least within 15-30 minutes of when they air).

Continuing my night of Happy Endings alums, I’ve started watching Marry Me, created by HE creator David Caspe and starring Casey Wilson. With the World Series, New Girl and Mindy have been on hiatus so I’ve been watching Marry Me live-ish and will continue to DVR once my regular Fox shows come back. I don’t love love love Marry Me yet but I have a crush on it, for sure. I think Casey Wilson is great, I think there’s potential in the show and in last night’s episode, Derrick from Happy Endings appeared, seemingly playing the same character, and dressed as Lloyd Dobler.

LOVE.

I’m not sure if Marry Me will last past this season or how it will work once they actually get married. But I’m willing to give it a chance. YEAR OF PENNY!

I recently binge watched the first season of About a Boy on Netflix and decided to start watching the second season, which conveniently airs after Marry Me. I thought the first season was charming, albeit a little boring. I’m pretty bored so far in the second season but not enough to stop watching yet so it’s just hanging out on my DVR.

Oh, Selfie. I wanted to hate this show. I did. The name alone – GOD. WHY? The ads were awful, the premise seemed stupid; like the youths say, I. can’t. even.

But guys…. I kind of like it. It’s grown on me. There were some rough moments in the pilot but every episode since has gotten better. I’ve laughed out loud (more than I have in several other sitcoms recently). John Cho is adorbs. I don’t know if it’s a long term prospect at all and it will definitely be something that people look back on like, “Ha! Can you believe there was a show called Selfie?” But there’s a sweet, funny show hiding in there somewhere, I think. Give it a chance.

Unlike with Selfie that I wanted to hate, I really wanted to love Manhattan Love Story. I liked the lead actors, I love romantic comedies… but the show was such a bummer. Seriously. To try and be fair, I watched 3 episodes and it just got worse every week. I kid you not, this show started with voice over of a dude walking down the street, thinking about boobs, and a woman walking down the street, thinking about purses. It’s 2014. This is still passing as humor? It was just a strange show that could not find its voice and it got canceled after 4 episodes.

Interesting side note about Manhattan Love Story: I tweeted about how I was trying to give the show a chance but I still disliked it and I got this reply, from the show’s creator:

So, if you stumble on this blog post too – what’s up Jeff? Sorry about your luck. I hope you find a new project soon and it turns out better than MLS. 

To not end on a bummer note, here are a buttload of Happy Endings gifs to remember the good times and an alternate universe where ABC would have kept this show on instead of even entertaining the idea of a show like Manhattan Love Story. 

fall 2014 TV roundup: Monday, Monday

We’re about a month into the fall TV season and I feel I’ve had enough time to fairly try out some new shows on the major networks and see if they’ve earned a “record series” pass on my DVR and suss out if I’m still into shows I watched in past seasons. I’m doing multiple posts to cover each day of the week since I wrote over 1,000 words just about Monday… 🙂

monday

I’ve been watching CBS on Mondays for years because of my devotion to How I Met Your Mother. With that show gone, I’m still tuning in on Monday’s because they’ve been airing The Big Bang Theory at 8:00 PM Monday instead of 8:00 PM Thursday for the past few weeks. I didn’t watch TBBT when it started. I thought it sounded dumb, knew it was from the creator of Two and a Half Men (which I truly can’t stand) and I watched plenty of other things on Thursday.

But then it started up in syndication and I realized, hey! I kind of like this show. It seemed to have more heart than Two and a Half Men and I liked the characters more. It wasn’t my favorite but I found it enjoyable enough that I started recording episodes every week. It was never my first choice – I always chose NBC Thursday over CBS Thursday. But with the move to Monday, I didn’t have anything else to watch at 8 so if I’m home and watching TV, I’ll usually put it on live. Now that it’s going back to Thursday, I’ll just catch it on my DVR after the fact. That being said, I haven’t enjoyed the episodes this season as much as I have in the past. I am feeling more and more like the couples in relationships don’t even like each other and I don’t particularly enjoy every couple sniping and bickering at each other constantly.

Starting next week, 2 Broke Girls will return to Mondays and take TBBT slot. I stopped watching 2 Broke Girls last year. I gave it a chance and it grew on me during the first season – I have a soft spot for Kat Dennings and I was excited to have her on TV. But the other lead on that show drives me crazy, as does Jennifer Coolidge’s character, and the jokes were all the same and I just got … bored. I was watching an episode, hadn’t laughed at all and asked myself why I was still bothering to watch it. So, it went from watching it live, to catching it on my DVR, to seeing it on my DVR and deleting it without watching because I had too many other good things to watch, to canceling my series pass.

Also on CBS, I tried the first episode of Scorpion, which seems to be doing well in the ratings. I did not like it. It was kind of like The Power Rangers in a way or Captain Planet where each super smart person has a super cool specialty that helps save the day from bad guys – “I’m the nerd that likes science! I’m the nerd that’s good at math! I’m the nerd that’s basically Shawn from Psych or The Mentalist! I’m the nerd who knows about computers!” I was just feeling it was all a little much. And it ended with an insane scene where Katherine McPhee is standing through a sunroof in a car holding a laptop up to a low flying airplane and I was just like… I get that the guy who made the latest Fast and the Furious movies is behind this show but this is too much. If you’re going to go Fast and Furious, go full blown. Those movies are fun. This show was not. Maybe it was just a rough pilot but I haven’t been inspired to try and watch more episodes yet.

I used to watch Bones on Mondays on Fox but I stopped watching that, too. (Man, I sound like a quitter.) Just like TBBT, I was not a Bones watcher at all when it first aired or during the first … five? … seasons. Then we got Netflix Streaming. A year or two ago, I decided to give an episode of Bones a chance and next thing you know, I’ve marathoned through most of the series on Netflix. When the new season started last fall, I set the DVR to record (episodes were on Friday nights there for awhile, I wasn’t watching those real time). I don’t know if I ever watched Bones real time, even when they moved back to Mondays. The only episode I watched live was the season premiere this year – and that’s when I decided I was done with watching Bones. SPOILER ALERT….

[I can’t believe that they killed off Sweets! He was the best part of that show and honestly, I have no interest in watching it without him so I canceled my series pass.]

Anyway, also like TBBT, Bones is now on Thursdays apparently. Lots of schedule flip flopping.

My new favorite Monday show is on a network I never watch – The CW. Jane the Virgin.

I had read good reviews of Jane the Virgin but I couldn’t believe it: a comedy? On the CW? With that title? And it was actually good?

skeptical face.

But guess what, guys? IT IS SO GOOD! It fills the hole that Ugly Betty left in my heart. It’s funny and sweet but there’s drama and intrigue too – and, shock of all shocks, it’s acted well. There’s no painful acting to ignore or weak links in the cast. It’s great.

I had one of those “Oh my God, who IS that guy? I know him!” moments when I saw Justin Baldoni as one of the lead characters, which reminded me that I had a similar moment when I saw him in a tiny part on Happy Endings … how do I know this face? And the realization that I know his face because I watched a video of his insane and hilarious and tear jerking proposal to his now wife on YouTube multiple times. You should watch it. Anyway, I’m happy that he is now on a good TV show because he seems like a cool dude.

I haven’t actually watched Jane live or even recorded on my DVR yet because I’m trying out Hulu Plus for the fall TV onslaught. I’ve watched both episodes on Hulu Plus but I’m going to add it my series record list at home ASAP.

And that’s it for Monday.

Sorry, Grandma. I still don’t watch that Dancing with the Stars“. (She literally asks me this every time we talk and when I tell her I never have, still don’t, she fills me in on her favorites. This season apparently it’s some girl from Duck Dynasty.)

HGTV drinking game.

I love HGTV. I watch it constantly. I find it focuses much more on homes than gardens but there are a few good yard makeover shows. It hasn’t given me a green thumb or helped with our unruly yard at all yet but I’ve learned a lot from HGTV that was super helpful during our house hunting process, like:

  1. Hire a good inspector. I’ve seen too many people get burned on Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection by things their inspector should have caught.

    He DOES totally look like Mr. Clean! Thanks internet.

  2. Mike Holmes also taught me that any stairs 3 steps or more should have a hand rail. We had to fix that in our own house.
  3. It costs a lot of money to do the kinds of renovations they show on Property Brothers. Don’t look for a fixer upper unless Drew and Jonathan are going to roll up and help manage the project because my husband and I are not handy enough to do it ourselves.
  4. Don’t focus on the paint or wallpaper when touring houses. That’s a typical Property Virgins mistake, getting hung up on something that is easy to change.
  5. From all of the renovation shows, where they make over an older house, I’ve learned that older homes mean you need to be more aware and look out for things like lead paint, asbestos and cracks in the foundation.

The home decor side of HGTV has also helped me shape my interior decorator tastes, which came in handy when making our house like our home.

That being said, it also drives me bananas. You could easily create a drinking game out of how predictable these shows are – so let’s do that, shall we? Get ready to get tipsy.

Take a drink whenever… 

  • Hilary can’t afford to do everything on the homeowner’s wish list and they get mad. (Love It or List It)
  • Hilary says Fergus. (LIOLI)
  • If you watch more than one episode back to back, drink if Desta’s hair is different from one episode to the next. (LIOLI)
  • David shows the homeowners a house over their budget. (LIOLI)
  • The homeowners argue outside. (LIOLI)

  • Tarek and Christina’s daughter is featured in the episode. (Flip or Flop)
  • Tarek is absolutely shocked that renovations are costing more than they originally expected. (FOF)
  • Christina wants to add granite in the kitchen and bathrooms. (FOF)
  • They decide to paint the walls in shades of grey or taupe. (FOF)
  • Tarek wants to list the house way above the comps in the neighborhood and Christina isn’t sure about it but they do it anyway. (FOF)

Seriously, check out this tumblr: http://awfulpeopleonhousehunters.tumblr.com/

  • Any of the following are uttered: man cave, stainless steel, hardwood floors, “I don’t like carpet” (House Hunters)
  • A childless couple says a 5+ bedroom house might not be “big enough” (HH)
  • Someone says the house “needs some updating” or talks about other projects they would need to tackle. (HH)
  • The house hunter ends up choosing the wrong house. You know which one is the wrong house – it’s different than the one you picked for them! (HH)

  • Jonathan designs an open concept floor plan. (Property Brothers)
  • The homeowners help with the demolition. (PB)
  • Drew makes a joke about how much he helped with the reno. (PB)
  • Jonathan wears flannel or Drew wears a tie. (PB)
  • The finished product includes a chandelier that looks like this:

If you follow these rules during a weekend marathon of any of these shows, you’re going to be sloshed so be responsible! Don’t drink and operate heavy machinery or a sledgehammer, no matter how inspired you get to tear down that (probably load-bearing) wall to create an open concept space in your house. It’s not a good idea.