The Office Nostalgia

I’ve suffering from The Office withdrawal. Even though Chris and I are now finishing out Parks and Rec and it is an amazing show, I spent Thursday evening reminiscing about The Office and watching youtube videos and reading gifs of The Office quotes. Here are some faves.

Pam gets Dwight

Pam Beesly: We need everything back the way it was.
Dwight Schrute: You don’t wanna move. Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in life. You’ll probably just take it out on your kid. Jim will turn to the drink. The family will fall apart, and twenty five years from now, Cece will become world famous… for stripping.
Pam Beesly: That’s a sad story. I have another one. We move, the other tenants follow, the bank takes the building, takes your farm, takes your car and beats the crap out of you. Penniless, you die, and my daughter Cece dances on your grave… fully clothed.

But they end up best friends. Dahhh.

best friends

 

Michael Scott, best and worst boss.

evil snail

Television Review: The Office

the office

Summary from IMDB:

A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium. Based on the hit BBC series.

For several months we have been spending our evenings watching The Office. I’ve heard good things about the show over the years, but only caught an episode here or there and never really got into it. At the urging of Chris we sat down and watched it from the beginning and it made so much more sense. This show is incredibly clever, hilarious, and heartwarming all at the same time. There were several instances where Chris and I caught an incredibly clever line that tickled our fancies and we would have to pause the show to laugh for several minutes before we could continue. Even minor characters had amazing lines that were just kind of thrown away in the story unless you were watching and purposefully trying to catch them. Creed was often that character. He has the most amazingly bizarre things to say. For example, in one episode he is the narrator and his take on the days events left us in stitches. (*This show has been over for two years, I don’t considered it spoiler-able.*)

In the parking lot today there was a circus! The copier did tricks on the high-wire, a lady tried to give away a baby that looked like a cat. There was a Dwight impersonator and a Jim impersonator, a strong man crushed a turtle… I laughed. And I cried. Not bad for a day in the life of a dog food company.

Check out all his quotes posted on http://officequotes.net/creedThoughts.php

Check out all his quotes posted on http://officequotes.net/creedThoughts.php

I love the show, but more than a few episodes made mad and occasionally anxious, I’m not going to lie. Michael Scott was both a horrible and brilliant manager. Steve Carell is a genius at playing the part. He did an amazing job of making Michael a human being even with all the crazy mad things he did. What a ridiculous person. Unfortunately, a very realistic ridiculous person.

michael scott

The humanity the existed inside rather caricatures was what made the show. sometimes this made me mad at them for being so human. I spent a time or two pacing the living room and yelling at the screen. I cried once or twice because of a sweet gesture from one character to another. I had all of the emotions, all of the time with this show. It is amazing. One of my favorite friendships to watch develop was Dwight and Pam’s. They understood each other even though they couldn’t always relate to each other. It was an odd, but sweet relationship.

That is probably the very best description of this show. Odd, but sweet. If you haven’t taken the time, you should check it out on Netflix. I recommend starting it from the beginning and working your way through the show. I found it made a lot more sense, and was a lot more fun when i understood all the inside jokes and quirks of the characters as they grew up before my eyes. What a wonderful, wonderful show.

Television Review: The Blacklist

I recently got hooked on The Blacklist thanks to Netflix and my love of binge watching shows. I was recommended the show from a friend and watched the first episode, but wasn’t so much impressed. However, I gave it another try and by the third episode I was hooked. This is my usual M.O. Which is why I give most shows three episodes before deciding whether or not I like it. And I love The Blacklist!

the blacklist

Summary from IMDB:

A highly articulate, erudite and intelligent businessman and mastermind, “Red” Reddington, has allegedly been on the “10 Most Wanted List” of various U.S. law enforcement agencies for over 20 years. The legend is that Red is as elusive an Artiste as he is clever; Red built and controls a veritable labyrinth of creative enterprises coupled with uncanny ability to gather and finesse information at the drop of a hat. On the first day at FBI for a new female profiler fresh out of Quantico, Red offers to bandy wits with the FBI. Red promises to deliver various criminals and plots previously unknown to any branch of law enforcement… and all Red requests in return is to choose his muse.

James Spader is amazing. His character Red is outside the normal anti-hero on television, he’s more like a movie anti-hero. He goes around killing people, in cold blood, without emotion, because he must to get to his end game. Which I still haven’t bloody figured out yet. At the close of season 1, some of his endgame became clear and his cleverness expounded upon, but mystery yet remains. And that makes this show awesome.

I once read this article on how heroes in large stories are written rather bland and very very normal on purpose. That way whoever is watching or reading the story can easily imagine themselves in that person’s place. I love Leslie Knopes, but she is a character and I don’t easily imagine myself in her place. Elizabeth Keen (played by Megan Boone) us that every man character that the watcher/reader is supposed to easily place themselves inside of. She does get interesting as the show progressives, but at times she is tiring, and not as bad ass as I would hope. I’ve not given up hope on her becoming a little bit more of a character, because she is being set up to grow in that direct, but the first season she is very normal in her reactions and actions and character.

I have so many theories about this story line, but I’ll keep them to myself so I don’t spoil the best thing about this show, you never know where it is going. However, if you want to discuss theories, I’m opening up the comments for spoilers. So beware! Have questions? Want to discuss? Leave a comment. I’d love to swap theories.

Television Review: Endgame (2011)

Endgame (2011) is available on Hulu Plus (which we finally got working at our new place). There is only one season available and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it was a good binge watch all the same.

endgame image

Summary from TV.Com

Arkady Balagan is a genius who found fame as the world chess champion but who, since witnessing the murder of his fiancée, has become rather agoraphobic and has been living in a posh hotel in Vancouver. Out of money and with his tab being called due he stumbles into helping find an abducted child. Realising (sic) he could make some money as an unofficial consulting detective he takes up a new profession and hires one of his chess fans to do the work which requires leaving the hotel. Arkady continues to work with Pippa Venturi, his late fiancée’s sister, to solve the murder of Rosemary Venturi, his fiancée, and her old friend Greg Lamont.

Balagan is an agoraphobic Sherlock Holmes. He is a genius who solves mysteries with chess strategic thinking. Since he is agoraphobic he enlists the help of a younger chess player, a maid of the hotel, and a bar tender in the hotel. He finds smart people to help him and doesn’t discriminate who that intelligent person is based on their job description. He is able to walk through what people probably did based on his extensive knowledge of how people work because of his chess playing background.

I like this show because I like smart people, and the entire ensemble is a cast of smart people. They all play off of each other beautifully, and there wasn’t a secondary character that I didn’t like or who was just there to fulfill some quota. They all contributed in their own way and each character pushed the show forward seamlessly. Balagan is a great character beautifully played. Sometimes he comes off as the biggest jerk, that smart kid who always thinks he is right, because he usually is. But, Balagan is smart because he understands not only the rules of a game, but how people think. His ability to understand other people gives his sometimes jerk character warmth and charm that really endured him to me.

My favorite episode was “I Killed Her” where a killer shows up at the hotel and confesses everything to Balagan, but in a way that he can’t be caught. At every turn the killer outsmarts Balagan, which was quite exciting to watch. In the end, it is Balagan’s understanding of human character that resolves the case. In a very touching scene Balagan figures out the psychology of the killer and what ultimately drives his behavior.

If you like binge watching television about smart people solving crimes in unusual ways, check out Endgame (2011) on Hulu Plus.

Television Reviews of Reckless and Bad Judge: Legal Trouble With a Laugh

I’ve recently watched a couple of legal dramas that I found interesting, so I thought I would share my thoughts on them.

Reckless

reckless

Synopsis from teh internets

Beautiful Charleston litigator Jamie Sawyer uses her Chicago street smarts in the Old South atmosphere of South Carolina, especially with her handsome courtroom rival, City Attorney Roy Rayder — with whom she shares a strong mutual attraction. When disgraced Officer Lee Anne Marcus hires Jamie to represent her in a lawsuit against the police department, Jamie and Roy discover a sinister sex scandal that threatens to tear the city apart. Jamie and Roy hide the tension between them as they spar in court — and out. Dark secrets remain hidden behind closed doors, threatening to destroy the town’s genteel facade.

My thoughts:

What I enjoyed about this series was that both sides had some of the answers, and both sides thought they were right, and for good reason. Often legal dramas show lawyers just being general jerks without an explanation of why they had to legally and ethically behave the way that they did. There are certain rules for what a Prosecutor verses a Defense attorney is legally obligated to turn over and what they don’t have to turn over to the other side. Additionally, most cases have either side sussing out the issues so that there isn’t much surprise in court. Here, both attorneys are smart, both of them are doing their jobs well, and both of them think they have some of it right, and they both do. They also figure out most of the issues before going to court (though there are a couple Perry Mason moments that made me roll my eyes). So from a legal aspect I enjoyed how the show played out.

It doesn’t hurt that the two main characters were really good looking and had the hots for each other. The spiceyness of the series was played perfectly. I also really liked that Jamie was a Chicago street smart attorney whose background explained her character’s reactions to things. I enjoyed this show so much, I had only a few quibbles. Now, I don’t know exactly how the Charleston city legal department is set up, but I don’t think any sizable town has ONE city attorney. Plus, if it was a smaller town and there was ONE city attorney he or she would be so busy at traffic court they wouldn’t be able to try bigger cases, and if they did have time to try bigger cases for the city, there is no way they could then have a private practice as well. It is the Abby Sciuto Syndrome, where one person does a dozen people’s job on the show, in real life that is not how it works. Secondly, I don’t know where it says that lawyers who have cases against each other can’t date. There is a side of things that is missed in most legal dramas where the courtroom is a stage and behind the scenes most of the actors/lawyers are friendly with each other. Clients come and go, but in small towns, legal departments, or areas of law, the opposing lawyers remain the same. It’s often imperative to maintain a civil relationship with them in order to get what you want for your client.

Reckless is an interesting legal drama that is available in Netflix for a fun week of binge watching a one season show. The mini legal dramas each episode keep up the fun while the over all legal case for the first (and only) season was intense and had some interesting twists.

Bad Judge

bad judge

Synopsis from IMDB

A hard-living, sexually unapologetic woman who plays with the law, and whose life on the edge is constantly in balance as she also happens to be a judge in the Criminal Court system.

My thoughts

Rebecca is a glorious mess. She is both a super intelligent adult who rightly judges people under the law and also a super messy can’t leave college behind girl who can’t give up her hideous van or cut-off denim shorts. I love her like I love Mindy from The Mindy Project. Women who are unapolegetically chaotic. I always feel I have to have everything in order or the world will end. But life is rarely in order and it hasn’t ended yet. So, Rebecca and Mindy remind me that I don’t have to be perfect, because I will fail if I try, but I should try to be happy, because that is something I can achieve.

Executive Producer Adam McKay explains: “Rebecca kind of has one foot in each side of life. Like there is part of her that is still her college girl, partying, getting in to trouble. Then there is another side of her that is very grown up and is a judge and occasionally surprises you by doing the right thing.”

What is really amazing is that the legal aspect of this comedy is more right on than a lot of legal dramas I’ve seen. So, I found that refreshing. While Rebecca seems to take a Judge Judy way of handing out sentencing, I’m not sure what she does is always available to her under the law and the counts brought before her, a lot of it is pretty spot on. One quibble is the court reporter’s relationship to the judge and bailiff. Most court reporters are actually hired through a court reporting agency and have no real relationship to the judges or the court other than as people they see all the time and work with. So, I found that a tad strange, but hey it’s California, maybe that explains the difference.

One really odd thing is that Ryan Hansen (Dick from Veronica Mars) shows up as a well rounded psychologist who has his life more together than Rebecca does. It is mind boggling and he does a great job as the character. Check it out on IMDB where they host full episodes of the show via Hulu.

Watching the X-Files of an Evening

As I mentioned in a recent post, Chris and I often spend the evenings watching X-Files and discussing the seven tropes of 90’s television. One evening while watching an episode I had already seen, I got a bit bored. This is what happens when I get bored and have access to Facebook.

Create Your Own Chris caption.

Mine: OMG are Mulder and Scully finally going to kiss?

Chris 1

We watched the episode where Skinner runs around in his tighty-whiteys and bees are carriers for smallpox. This is one of my mother’s favorite episodes. For some reason. <.<_>.> But it caused a few confused moments on our part. 

chris and jami

I asked Chris if I could post the picture below and say, ‘Chris’ second favorite redhead.’

“You could, but it would be a lie.” He said.

“Come on, don’t you have a crush on Scully?” I asked.

“No. She’s too man-ish.”

Hmm, that might explain my crush on her.

chris and scully

A friend commented that Chris must have never seen her Maxim photo shoot. So I did some ogling googling research.

maxim photo shoot

Chris and I both agree, Gillian Anderson does not look mannish in that photo shoot.

P.S. Some of the submissions we got for the Create Your Own Chris Caption.

Michael: Everyone is stupid but me.

Thom: Does Jax really have to take his shirt off…. Again!!?!

Do you have a submission for a caption?

7 Things to Expect from 90’s TV: A Review of Sliders

Recently I started watching Sliders, a show from the 90’s that involves sliding into parallel universes, modified cell phones called Timers, and Jerry O’Connell with that hair-do all the boys had back then.

jerry oconnell

I bet Jerry O’Connell still makes this face whenever he sees his old hair do

This show is amazing, it is so ridiculous and entertaining. I just can’t quit watching it. But then I usually find 90’s shows highly entertaining, and have watched several. Chris too loves shows from the 90’s. Granted he mostly does it to make fun of them, and be amazed at the ridiculousness that can happen. But isn’t that mostly why we watch other people live completely outside the norm lives? The ridiculousness of the Winchester brothers hunting down dead ghost heiresses, makes our lives a little less boring, and a little less ridiculous feeling.

After a run of watching 90’s television shows we came up with a list of 7 things to expect from a 90’s TV show.

1. Exaggerated Fist Fights Where the MC Takes Down Combative Trained Military

Quinn Mallory, the star of Sliders, is a really smart nerdy type who finds a way to open portals and slide to parallel universes. Whenever those universes turn out to be places with military types, like the time they slid into San Francisco and it was a huge penitentiary, or the time they slid into a world run like the Hunger Games, or the time etc etc, he ALWAYS overpowers the military with his bad (just bad, not badass) fist fighting. It is such fun to watch. I never have to be anxious that he will win over the bad guys (even if they are better trained at fighting) because he will always win.

You may be a giant nerd

You may be a giant nerd

Similarly, in the X-Files, Mulder always wins his fights with his fists even though he carries a gun. It is truly bizarre if you take the time to review the early episodes how many times Mulder looses his gun. Only every single episode. Even the show lampshades how many times he looses it. In the episode, Nisei, he once again has his gun knocked out of his hand. But wait! He has a back up piece in an ankle holster. “I get tired of losing my gun.” He explains.

But if you have abs you can fight all the monsters

But as long as you have abs, you can fight all the monsters

No matter their non-combative background or their military trained opponent, a 90’s television MC will always win, and usually by fist fighting.

2. Cars that Spontaneously Explode

Every show from the X-Files to Walker Texas Ranger has massive car explosions. 90’s action television shows are obsessed with car explosions, a hold over from television in the 80’s. Often a car will tip over and then suddenly explode, seemingly for no reason that can be explained with any kind of real laws of physics.

car explosion

 

3. Unrequited Love

You can’t have a 90’s show without unrequited love. While some of those ‘ships may eventually hook up, it is usually for a moment and doesn’t normally last. Or if it does go for a season, it is only because there have been a billion episodes where nothing except sidelong glances happens.

In Sliders it is obvious that Wade has a thing for Quinn, but he is not as much into her. Well, then again maybe he is. In fact, in one parallel world they are an item. A dysfunctional item, but an item nonetheless.

sldrs-wade-quinn

Buffy and Angel. Need I say more?

buffyandangel-angel-reedus-smith-gillan-set-for-wizard-world-chicago

Or how about John and Aeryn on Farscape? They finally, finally get together, and then….. atomic bomb.

john and aeryn

You can’t have a 90’s TV show without unrequited love.

4. Primitive CG

I mean this is kind of a Homer “Doh” moment, because of course the CG is primitive, it was in the primitive stages of being used. But in watching them now, it is really apparent how early in the game CG was at the time.

Take for example when the Mayor becomes a supernatural creature at Buffy’s graduation. It doesn’t even look like the creature is really there. Just imposed on top of the scene.

demons-graduation-buffy

But primitive CG is never more apparent then when being used to create primitive creatures.

Dinoslide

5. Dramatic Camera Shots of Chins

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 6. Floppy Disks in the Future 

I find it fascinating how people thought technology would develop verses how it actually developed. The internet was just starting to be a thing. While Wade and Quinn do have some hacking abilities, as they are both the nerdy type, the concept of using the cloud to store information rather than floppy disks, or really tiny CDs, was not even a thought.

timer

Of course the argument can be made that they do not slide into future worlds, but rather parallel universes and so technology doesn’t develop similarly to our own. And I get it, yes, that’s the answer that lets you suspend your disbelief, but if it looks futuristic and acts futuristic, it is still jarring that the technology used does not conform to future technology.

floppy disks

Plus floppy disks? Who has those anyway? …. Oh wait. I actually have a few stashed right here. ::coughcough:: Why do I have these?

7. Lack of Internal Continuity 

In the X-Files, Scully never, never, remembers what happened before. She does not remember all the weird and wonderful things she and Mulder have come across. Every episode she comes back as a die hard skeptic. How does this make sense? She is a smart woman yet one who doesn’t learn from the past to inform her future. This doesn’t even make sense. The lack of internal continuity is baffling.

scully

In Sliders, supposedly the Timer opens a certain size portal that can only transport a certain number of people. So, even though they may want to they can’t take people from other universes with them into the next. Yet, in the very next episode they offer to take someone with them through the portal. What? And a few episodes later they do! This. Just. What?

sliders

The lack of internal continuity bugs me the most about 90’s television. But I will keep watching 90’s TV, because the concepts, the characters, and the stories are more than the tropes. Aeryn, Scully, and Maggie are some of the best female badasses ever. They can handle guns, aren’t afraid of confrontation (unless it is about their feelings), and written to be more than a female trope characters. 90’s television has a place because of the lessons it teaches us, about ourselves and the world around us.

Plus, it is highly amusing to make fun of them.

Bonus Trope: Mark A Sheppard will make a guest appearance at some point

Sometimes he will have bleeding eyes and purple hair

Sliders

Sliders

Sometimes he will have psychokinetic abilities

X-Files

X-Files

Sometimes he will have ridges on his head

Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek: Voyager

Those a just a few 90’s tropes that we’ve noted in our TV watching. What other 90s tropes can you think of?