Monday, August 30, 2010

"Join us, won't you?"

Okay, so I only got four of my predictions correct. But I don't care at all, because the Emmys gave us this:

IS THIS NOT THE GREATEST THING EVER. I say that about a lot of things, but this may be the most I've ever meant it. A Glee-club inspired version of "Born to Run" featuring Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Jane Lynch, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Lea Michele, Amber Riley, Jon Hamm, Joel McHale, and Jorge Garcia with cameos by Tim Gunn and Betty White?! It's like they looked inside my soul and knew exactly what would make me shriek like a little girl/grin like an idiot.

Joy. Pure joy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

10 Things: Glee Duets That Need to Happen

We've had some excellent duets on Glee - I'm always a sucker for a Finn/Rachel duet, Artie/Mercedes sound great together, and Mr. Schuester and April Rhodes' voices really do go together like butter on a biscuit. (Thank you, Kristin Chenoweth, for the analogy.)

But there's an untapped reserve of duets we haven't heard. And it's a damn shame! So here is my list of 10 pairs I want to hear sing together in the coming episodes (oh, seasons, fine!) of Glee.

10. Shelby Corcoran / April Rhodes

YES I know that this is largely fanwank, and there is really no reason whatsoever that these two characters would ever meet, but I don't care. Ryan Murphy respects the musical, and also writes storylines on crack, so I think it's totally possible Glinda and Elphaba could be reunited on my screen for a little number.

Possible song suggestion: "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" from Evita

9. Terri / Will

Their marriage imploded, and no duet? Shame. We need to hear Terri sing, period.

Possible song suggestion: "Crazy" by Patsy Cline

8. Puck / Rachel

Okay, so they sang in "Run Joey Run" but I don't really count that - technically Rachel was duetting with Puck, Jesse, AND Finn. I don't even know what Rachel and Puck would sing about together, but I'm confident it would sound good.

Possible song suggestion: "Falls Apart" by Sugar Ray

7. Finn / Kurt

Again, you could count "A House is Not a Home" but since Finn's part is sung in a different scene by himself, I say it's not really a duet. It'd be nice to see Finn and Kurt resolve the issues that seemed to trip them up in the Back 9 and reconcile as friends and maybe even step-brothers.

Possible song suggestion: "Home" by Michael Buble, while a bit overly sentimental, ties in nicely with the boys' "A House is not a Home" theme.

6. Artie / Rachel

Lea Michele's and Kevin McHale's voices together would sound beautiful. That is all. I have a feeling this duet will only ever come about if they get stuck together on an assignment or if they have parallel storylines. But who knows?

Possible song suggestion: "I Am a Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel

5. Quinn / Puck

It's a bit absurd that these two have had a baby together, but not a song. The possibilities here are endless, since their relationship seems to be in a different place every episode.

Possible song suggestion: "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds

4. Quinn / Rachel

These two have a checkered past and no screentime. The last we left them, Rachel felt guilty for spilling Quinn's secret, and Quinn didn't want to punch her in the face. OH, and then Quinn gave up her daughter to Rachel's birth mother who had given HER away to Rachel's gay dads. You'd think they'd have some issues to work out.

Possible song suggestion: "Everybody Knows" by the Dixie Chicks (take out the twang, and I think it'd be pretty solid)

3. Sue / Mr. Schue

This would be amazing. That is all.

Possible song suggestion: "Big Shot" by Billy Joel

2. Tina / Artie

These two have such a sweet relationship with more onscreen kisses than any other couple, and yet no song together! Blasphemy! The only time we've ever heard their voices overlap was in "To Sir With Love" for one brief verse. Need a full duet, please!

Possible song suggestion: "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston

1. Santana / Brittany

I don't even know what these two would sing about, but I know it would be amazing. They really are best when they're together; and even though sex isn't dating, I'm pretty sure they're soulmates.

Possible song suggestion: "Two Hearts" by Phil Collins (the lyrics are seriously perfect.)

Also, as long as I'm making song suggestions, I put forth Earth Wind and Fire's "Shining Star" and "Dancing in the Street" by Martha Reeves for group numbers and Destiny's Child's "Independent Women Part I" for the ladies. Plz?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Emmy Predictions 2K10

Ladies and gentlemen, the Emmys are this weekend. Predictably, I'm giddy as a schoolgirl. I covet too many television shows for the Emmys NOT to be entertaining. This year, many of my favorite people are nominated, some in the same category. Emmy finally decided to make me choose between Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and decided to throw Lea Michele in there as well just to further confuse me. The lovable Neil Patrick Harris is up against the darling first-time-nominee-on-his-first-television-show-ever Chris Colfer. And then there's the Battle of the Janes: Krakowski v. Lynch. How can I choose between Jenna Maroney and Sue Sylvester? It's just cruel.

But, in the end, I tried to be fairly unbiased in my predictions. Many of the shows (hello, drama categories!) I've never seen, so I'm going on buzz and watercooler talk. That's legitimate data, right? Right, guys?

Comedy series:
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Modern Family
Nurse Jackie
The Office
30 Rock
It's probably pretty presumptuous to assume 30 Rock would win again, and Glee is too busy being on crack to merit a best series win. Modern Family, you're up!
Drama series:
Breaking Bad
The Good Wife
Mad Men
True Blood
Eh, why not? Although Mad Men is a darling, and Lost could sneak attack us with a last-season win. Even though it totally doesn't deserve it.
Outstanding Actress In A Comedy Series
Lea Michele, Glee
Julia Louis Dreyfuss, New Adventures of Old Christine
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Toni Collette, The United States of Tara
I'm fairly aware of the fact that most people's bets are on Edie Falco in this category. However, I can't bring myself to not put my support behind one of my three favorite ladies here. But then I struggled with blatant favoritism. Thing is, Tina Fey has already gotten her acting awards and Lea Michele, while doing outstanding work on Glee, is perhaps too new a nominee. So, Amy Poehler, I choose you. You're not an Emmy noob, but you've never won, and you've managed to help turn Parks & Rec from an Office knock-off into a charming little show resting on your shoulders. And, points for playing a character that's not straight out of your SNL repertoire.
Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 RockMatthew Morrison, Glee
Let the nerd win one. These nominees are the old standby nominees, with the exception of Morrison (whose nomination is arguable) and therefore it'd be nice to see some new blood get it.
Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Hugh Laurie, House
Matthew Fox, Lost
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
The only show I watch here is Lost, and I'm not certain I want to give Matthew Fox the win. Let's say Kyle Chandler for variety's sake.
Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Glenn Close, Damages
Connie Britton, Friday Night LightsJulianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVUJanuary Jones, Mad Men
Seriously, I'm a fish out of water in the drama categories. Julianna Margulies, this one's for you!
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Chris Colfer, Glee Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
If Chris Colfer does not win this, I will cry enough tears to drown myself in the bathtub. This boy is 20 years old, straight out of a high school where his only friends were the lunch ladies. And his work on Glee is phenomenal. It makes no sense that he should be so hilarious and heartbreaking as Kurt. I really just want to see him get an Emmy so I can hear his acceptance speech. And see the reactions of the other Glee kids. ALSO HE DESERVES IT. Make it so, Universe! ...please?
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Martin Short, Damages
Terry O’Quinn, Lost
Michael Emerson, Lost
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men Of A Certain Age
He basically played two characters and was ridonkulously good at both. Let's give it to him, shall we?
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Jane Lynch, Glee
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Holland Taylor, Two And A Half Men
"I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then on some dark cold night, I will steal away into your house and punch you in the face." Need I say more?
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Sharon Gless, “Burn Notice”
Rose Byrne, “Damages”
Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”
Is it bad I just blindly picked Archie Panjabi because she was in Bend it Like Beckham? For what it's worth, I've been meaning to watch The Good Wife. Although I could totally get behind a win for either of the Mad Men ladies.
Reality Competition program:
American Idol
Amazing Race
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
Top Chef
When does this ever NOT win?
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series:
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Saturday Night Live
Real Time With Bill Maher
Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien
I'M WITH COCO. Also, I like ironic justice.


I'm fairly confident I will get every category wrong, either because of utter bias or blind guessing. Yay, Emmys!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Quick Analysis of the Queen of Comedy

It's inarguable who the Queen of Comedy is. I mean, you could maaaaybe try and pull off a Carol Burnett or Betty White switcheroo, but c'mon. Even they'll tell you it's Lucille Ball.

It's interesting to examine Lucille Ball under the lens of Female Comedy Icon (she wears pants! she fibs! she gets pregnant! she's not afraid to get messy!), but for now I'm more interested in her show.

For as much as Lucille Ball changed the landscape of comedy for ladies, I Love Lucy also shaped the future of the television sitcom. Desilu Productions capitalized on the three-camera setup that lasted for decades, as well as the live studio audience for use as a laugh track.

And yet, so much has changed. I was scrolling through YouTube the other day, perusing the Lucy clips, and I noticed that all of them are rather long. In comparison, when I watch excerpts from 30 Rock, they last barely thirty seconds. I realized that I Love Lucy took its time with its comedy.

Take this clip, for example. It's famous for having the longest recorded studio laughter in television history - 65 consecutive seconds. The setup for this joke is painstakingly long - the payoff doesn't happen until four and a half minutes in! And yet it's still hilarious.

Sure, when watching this clip today, it's still funny as hell (I'm always partial to Lucy's trying to exit the room mid-dance, only to have Ricky yell at her) - but if a modern sitcom tried to do the same thing, would it be funny? Comedies on television these days are so fast-paced: 30 Rock moves at a breakneck speed, I get whiplash from watching Glee, and shows like Parks & Recreation and The Office use a slower pace to achieve a style, never a joke. It's hard to imagine the slow and steady build of a situational comedy these days. Just throw every kind of joke at the wall, see what sticks, and get out of the scene before it runs too long. It takes commitment to run a shtick for minutes on end.

Of course, there really aren't any Lucille Balls on television anymore either. I'd say the closest comparison could be Amy Poehler on Parks & Recreation. Lucy could always mine comedy from maneuvering, physically and verbally, through any situation, however outrageous. So many of her classic scenes involve little dialogue - she simply operates within a space and somehow exudes funny. When I think of the comediennes on TV currently, only Amy Poehler really comes to mind as someone who can be hilarious without having to say a single word.

But perhaps all of this pondering is over-analysis. What's funny is funny, regardless of whether or not it was on TV in the 50s or 2010. I Love Lucy is a classic for a reason - real funny stands the test of time, even if you can't necessarily find the same kind of funny on today's channels.

I leave you with some ballet.

And some 30 Rock, for comparison's sake:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Internet, I have missed you

Greetings again, gentle reader. As you may have noticed, it's been three months since my last post. Where did the summer go? Clearly I did not spend enough time on the Internet. So, I'm dusting off ye olde pop culture blog and getting it reinvigorated for frequent use. I have to get the ball rolling again - the Emmys are coming! And a new season of TV! There goes all my free time...
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