Monday, September 16, 2013

New Girl


I'm a bit excited...

This is a show that you NEED to watch.  The premise isn't exactly original - single people living together and the hijinks that ensue in the dating world according to 30-somethings - but it's fun, it's smart, it's funny, and it has heart.  The dialogue is great, the actors have amazing chemistry and the story lines keep you coming back.  Zooey Deschanel is "adorkable" (seriously, I want to be her), and Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Lamorne Morris make you think these guys have honestly been friends for years.  Hannah Simone is model beautiful but performs comedy sitcom material to a T.

Now, if I'm being honest and unbiased, the show does have the potential to jump the shark.  As I said before, New Girl doesn't really have originality.  However, I'm convinced that the other things it has going for it will keep it relevant and a must watch.  Also, it's definitely something to watch after the kids go to bed as it tends to get a bit sexual at times.

Season 3 starts tomorrow.  If you haven't watched it yet, I recommend you record the season premiere and watch some important episodes from the first two seasons to at least get caught up.  I would have posted this over the weekend to give you time to watch before the premiere, but my dear husband is now using my personal lappy as his work lappy and I left my work lappy at work.  (Gotta' love redundancy).  Anyway, here's a brief rundown of the show and a list of important episodes to watch (though I highly recommend watching all of them).

New Girl is the story of Jess (Deschanel), an exuberant goof of a girl who catches her long-term boyfriend cheating on her.  In order to stop crashing with her model best friend Cece (Simone) and Cece's model roommates, Jess answers a Craigslist posting for a roommate and realizes that the ad was placed by a trio of guys .  This does not deter her, though, and she moves in with Nick (Johnson), Schmidt (Greenfield) and Winston (Morris).  The foursome quickly bond and the question (inevitably) becomes "Who does Jess fall in love with?"  Is it the womanizing, douche-y (yet ultimately lovable) Schmidt?  Borderline slacker Nick?  Or former pro-basketball player Winston?  I'll let you find out.

The list:

Season 1:
   Episode 1 - Pilot
   Episode 2 - Kryptonite
   Episode 3 - Wedding
   Episode 5 - Cece Crashes
   Episode 8 - Bad in Bed
   Episode 9 - The 23rd
   Episode 10 - The Story of the 50
   Episode 12 - The Landlord
   Episode 13 - Valentine's Day
   Episode 15 - Injured
   Episode 20 - Normal
   Episode 21 - Backslide
   Episode 22 - See Ya

Season 2:
   Episode 1 - Re-Launch
   Episode 2 - Katie
   Episode 3 - Fluffer
   Episode 5 - Models
   Episode 6 - Halloween
   Episode 7 - Menzies
   Episode 9 - Eggs
   Episode 12 - Cabin
   Episode 14 - Pepperwood
   Episode 15 - Cooler
   Episode 18 - Tinfinity
   Episode 20 - Chicago
   Episode 21 - First Date
   Episode 23 - Virgins
   Episode 24 - Winston's Birthday
   Episode 25 - Elaine's Big Day, you may have noticed that this list is rather on the long side.  There's a reason for that.  I've bolded the "most important" episodes, but really you should watch all of them.  But that's just my opinion.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Drinking Buddies


Last week Saturday Joe and I watched Drinking Buddies on demand.  The male lead, Jake Johnson, is in one of our favorite shows (New Girl - stay tuned for more on that) and the description implied a fun relationship movie with lots of drinking.  Well, they got one thing right...

The story revolves around Luke (Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde; House) - best friends who work at a brewery.  Luke is quasi-engaged to his long-time girlfriend Jill (Anna Kendrick; Twilight, Up in the Air) while Kate is in a relationship with Chris (Ron Livingston; Office Space).  Luke and Kate hang out, drink and flirt.  What could possibly go wrong?

Well, interestingly enough, not much.  The whole time you watch the movie, you think Luke and Kate are going to ditch their respective significant others and declare their undying love for each other.  Or at least kiss.  I mean, what with the flirting and the drinking.  Plus, as When Harry Met Sally taught us, men and women can't be "just friends" (apparently) - attraction (i.e. sex) gets in the way.  Surely Jill and/or Chris will get ticked at Luke and Kate's relationship and deliver an ultimatum, or think there's something going on.  Wrong again!  The two couples go to Chris's beach front cabin for a weekend getaway and Jill and Chris decide to go for a hike.  THEY end up kissing after drinking some wine, and then go about their lives as normal.  Except Chris breaks up with Kate when they get back and Jill spontaneously decides to go on a trip to Costa Rica with her girlfriends.  Hmmmmm...

While Jill is gone, Luke hangs out with Kate (who won't admit that she's having a hard time coping with her break-up).  He helps her pack up her old apartment and after a long day falls asleep on her bed.  Kate gets in bed with him and...they sleep.  In the morning Luke tells Kate that they'll get her all moved in, clean up and go out to a nice dinner on him.  During the moving process, however, Luke slices open his hand on Kate's couch and gets into a fight with a random angry motorist who wants them to move the van.  Kate calls on their co-workers (including Dave, with whom she drunkenly hooked up immediately following her break-up) to help and Luke is clearly displeased with this.  After the guys leave Luke and Kate get into a shouting match about Kate's hook-up - this is the closest we get to an admission from either character that they are attracted to each other.  Luke is upset that Kate hooked up with Dave, Kate is upset that Luke is upset because she's single and can do whatever she wants whereas Luke is NOT single, to which Luke replies something along the lines of "Well, who slept with who".  He leaves, Kate cries.

When Luke gets back to his apartment he sees Jill has come home early from her trip.  She's been crying, and while she's cleaning up Luke's sliced hand she admits that she and Chris kissed and she feels awful about it.  Luke asks her if she loves Chris, she says no, and he forgives her.  The next day at work Kate is clearly still ticked at Luke, but they share a silent peace offering at lunch and all is forgiven.  And that's it.  The end.

Joe and I were pretty disappointed with this movie.  The camera work is reminiscent of a documentary, and the script has the same feel.  In fact, I'm pretty sure the actors weren't given a script so much as a description of how their conversations should go.  In some ways this wasn't bad as it really gave the actors a chance to show their ad libbing chops.  Unfortunately not everyone seemed up to the task.  Kendrick, who was excellent in 2009's Up in the Air (and for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination), seemed a bit lost - her dialogue felt forced and unnatural.  But I digress...  The plot wasn't bad, except it left us feeling like there was no character growth or development.  The relationships stayed more or less the same and it just felt like we wasted an hour and a half watching people hang out and drink.  A lot.  (I'm not even going to get into Kate's very probable addiction to alcohol).  The movie is categorized as a comedy but, as Joe said, we didn't laugh any more than we would had we just sat around and talked.

The reviews for this film were great but, honestly, I really don't know why.  One review in particular lauded the movie for portraying the relationships in such a realistic way.  And that leads me to why I chose this movie for my first "actual" post.  Maybe I'm just weird, but I read and watch movies/TV shows because they're generally unrealistic in some way.  Suspension of Reality.  Even if a story doesn't have wizards or dragons or some element of what is traditionally thought of as "fantasy", as long as it's fiction there is a dose of non-reality.  I mentioned When Harry Met Sally earlier - as far as relationship comedies go, that's the golden standard in my book.  It's not fantasy in the traditional sense but it's not realistic either - in reality, if some lady fakes an orgasm in a public place it wouldn't be funny.  She'd probably get hauled off for disturbing the peace or something.  In a movie, though, it's hilarious.  Why?  Because it's not real life.  It's ridiculous.

Drinking Buddies isn't all bad.  It's rated R for language and some nudity.  Compared to other films, though, it's pretty clean (full-frontal Olivia Wilde notwithstanding).  Definitely not something to watch with the kids around but it doesn't leave you feeling uncomfortable (unlike Orange is the New Black - a Netflix series which will also come up in future posts).

All in all, if you enjoy obscure indie flicks that tend towards the realistic versus a sense of non-reality, then you'll probably enjoy Drinking Buddies.  If you're like me, though, I'd skip it.  But that's just my opinion.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Well, here we are.  Post number 2.
                I’ve spent the last week trying to think about how to move forward with my new endeavor here in the blogosphere.  Panic set in – how am I going to decide which show, movie or book to focus on from week to week?  Even as I’m writing these words I don’t really know what to say.  Of course, that could be because I’m watching My Name is Earl, which is slightly distracting.  Yes, Earl will be a show I’ll touch on in later posts.  Which reminds me of another panic-inducing thought – how in the WORLD should I go about offering my brilliant insights into the world of television?  Seriously.  How?  What do I start with?  Do I break up the shows by season in week by week posts?  Do I give summaries on plot points?  Which show do I do first?  Should I just give an overall summary with critical analysis?  FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, WHERE DO I START?!
                Sorry.  That was the panic.  Not that I want to deny you all a glimpse into my genius for yet another week, but I need a little bit more time to process and plan out how I’m going to do this.  It’s a big undertaking for me…
                In all honesty, though, I want this to be fun.  I don’t want to freak out or feel stressed about it.  I want to work on my writing skills, I want to share my opinions on entertainment, but I don’t want to have this loom over my head like a weekly homework assignment.  So, full disclosure here, I may not post on a weekly basis.  Maybe more like a monthly basis.  Or it might turn into a daily thing – who knows?  I guess that’s the beauty of managing your own blog – it’s totally up to you.  And let’s face it…there’s probably only a handful of people who’ll actually read this.  More than likely less than that.  And to those few who do read it, I say this:  Hello, friends!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Beginning

                Whenever one starts reading a blog, the question inevitably comes up – “Why am I reading this?”  Reasons can range from boredom to simply supporting friends and family.  As an individual who has only read a few blogs (one of which was my husband’s) I don’t really have a fountain of knowledge to pull from.  I’m going into this blind – hopefully it’ll be refreshing, most likely just kind of weird.  My goal is to provide a catalogue of sorts to which stay-at-home moms (or dads) can turn to when they need to just step away from the sometimes overwhelming task of being home alone all day everyday with their little barbarians (which I say with ALL the love).
                “Suspension of reality” – I thought it was a rather clever title.  I love losing myself in stories, and I don’t discriminate as to the form of said stories.  Books, movies, TV…ultimately it’s all the same.  Some forms require more thought process, others not so much.  I don’t really care – if a story has good characters and a moving plot, I’m all in.
                A little bit about myself:  I’m a part time paralegal, part time stay-at-home mom.  I work half days from home on Wednesdays and have off on Fridays.  My two girls are currently 17 months old and 3 and a half months old.  I’m probably a terrible mother since I don’t really do much with my kids.  My 17 month old, Bear, will have me read her stories – all the time – and I do so (though the level of enthusiasm varies).  My 3 and a half month old, Bug, is happy as long as I’m either holding her or feeding her.  She’s pretty chill – they both are, really.  ANYway, I love my girls but when I’m home with them I often feel the need to escape without leaving them alone and incurring the wrath of child services.  My escape of choice – stories.  Right now I’m on a TV kick.  I blame Netflix.
                As I already mentioned, the driving force behind this blog is to help mommies and daddies find an escape from reality.  I’m a conservative person, Catholic, and deeply devoted to my faith and family.  But I need a break sometimes.  Even if it’s just while Bear is napping and Bug is eating, I need stimulation or I’ll go insane.  Maybe I’m the only one – in which case this blog is simply futile.  At any rate, during one of my TV musings it occurred to me that it’d be nice to have a source of suggestions to turn to.   And thus this blog was born.  It may be dumb, but hey – it’ll (hopefully) keep me entertained.  And really, that’s what it’s all about.  It’s all about ME.  Deal.