The first week of October, my BFF and I submitted our book’s manuscript to the publisher, so now we play the waiting game. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted much lately, and that is the reason why– during crunchtime of the book, I didn’t do much besides write, edit, and argue with Word ’07. Plus, on Sept. 8, classes started at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I am teaching humanities and speech this quarter. I have 75 engineering students relying on me! That’s a big job. But since the book has been FedExed (which coincided with fall [the most depressing time of the year] happening in Milwaukee), I have been able to check out some new shows and get reunited with some old favorites.*
Okay, obviously, as a Simpsonologist, I’m excited for the 21st season of The Simpsons. Matt and Co. have great treats in store for us, including a contest to create a a character and work with the creative types at the show to help design the character. Seth Rogan appeared and co-wrote the season premiere, and this Sunday’s Treehouse of Horror looks terrific. Also, Morgan Spurlock is directing a documentary to air in January that Karma and I have tried desperately to be a part of, but with no success. Yet.
PARKS AND RECREATION
I’ll admit, last year, I mainly watched Parks and Rec because because I really like that plucky Rachida Jones and it was on at a very convenient time– I can say it– The Office isn’t just a television show; it’s a part of my life. Surprisingly, the second season so far of Parks and Recreation is terrific, and gets my vote for most improved show. Although I can do without Saturday Night Live crossovers (Fred Armisen was on this week’s episode), the writing is clever and Leslie Knope is a loveable, clueless optimist.
As a proud product of a community college, I am compelled to like this show. Afterall, how many shows have there been where a community college was the main set? (The only one that comes to mind for me is The Parkers, but I’m not going to take the time to google it, I admit). But while it definitely has its moments, and Joel McHale is wonderful, this show is not super great. But it just might need some time to come into its own (and maybe they’ll ditch Chevy, who adds nothing to the show, IMO), so I’m going to keep watching, at least for a bit. It could just surpirse us in the future, like Parks and Recreation does now.
THE GOOD WIFE
Juliana Margulies is terrific as Alicia, the wife of a cheating bastard of a politician. She goes back to work to bring home the bacon while her husband waits for her to visit him in jail (played by Chris Noth). He seems flummoxed, by the way, that she is chilly towards him on her visits. But it’s understandable to the audience that she would be, knowing as we do that she found out on CNBC that her husband was cheating on her and their kids have seen the video of a hooker sucking his toes. The framing family story is compelling enough, but the juice of the show is that it’s a courtroom drama, with the mystery of interesting cases unfolding before the eyes and the intrigue and backstabbing we expect from our lawyer shows. Don’t be deceived by the title- the show is as much a chick show as Law and Order SVU is. And the supporting cast is nothing to scoff at– Chris Noth, as I mentioned, as well as Christine Baranzski, Matt Czuchry (who will always be Logan to me) and Josh Charles (from the beloved Aaron Sorkin show, Sports Night.
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE
I admit, I have a soft spot for Jenna Elfman. I loved her as Dharma, and Keeping The Faith is one of my all-time favorite movies. So I really want to like this show. And it does have its moments, but it’s not rocking my socks off. I’m giving it one or two more chances, though, and we’ll see. I am really missing Samantha Who?, and I was hoping this would be a replacement. So far, I have no replacement.
I had read or heard or something that the critics weren’t liking it. I also heard it might not be on much longer. BUMMER! I love this show! Yes, it’s a chick show. Yes, it’s coming from a place that has been explored already. But it’s good, I swear! It’s well written, funny, clever, and has really, really likeable characters. I never realized until a couple of weeks ago that I like Rebecca Romjin. Who knew? Also, don’t think that I’m judgemental about love or anything, but I was watching one night and it occurred to me that Lindsay Price looked familiar, but I couldn’t place it. So I IMDbed her, and check this out: her parents were siblings! Her mother had been adopted and her mom and dad got together as adults. Wow! Kind of blew my mind a bit. (Oh, and it turns out, it was Coupling, I think, that I remembered her from).
I’d been looking to scratch my ER itch, and I really can’t like Grey’s Anatomy (I’ve tried), so I thought I’d give Mercy a go. I’ve always liked a good hospital show. And this one has the added interest of a tortured Iraq vet. Plus, it has that adorable Michelle Trachtenberg. I like this show, too! (She likes it! She likes it!). I don’t quite look forward to it the way I look forward to The Good Wife, but the stories are poignant without being overly pathos-filled, and the heroine, Veronica, truly rocks.
Yeah, I’m watching it. Most of us Americans are, I think. Now’s the time to decide whether I have anything new to say about it . . . well, probably not, but let me say this: I encourage anyone who has not yet watched it to give it a try. Even if you think you hate glee clubs. The dialogue they give Jane Lynch is enough to make it worth your while; I promise you.
MONDAY NIGHTS ON CBS
If you’re not watching HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and BIG BANG THEORY, what the HELL is wrong with you? These are two of the best sitcoms. Comon– don’t you miss scripted TV?
My guilty pleasure. I generally have a disdain for so-called reality shows. They’re not real at all, and I generally hate any show that has “I’m not here to make friends” as a mantra. But Top Chef rocks. Maybe it’s the foodie in me who wishes she’d gone to culinary school. I wish I could do those quickfires! Maybe it’s my massive girl crush on Padma, or hearing what snarky thing Toby will say next. But what it comes down to is that I really like rooting for someone, and for me, that someone is Kevin. Go, Kev!
*Yeah, that’s right. I’m a college instructor, I’ve co-written an academic book, I occasionally use big words just to annoy people, and I watch TV. I think there are few things more d-baggy than people who want to seem like academic types who say they don’t watch TV. Let me let you in on a little secret: Yes, they do. Most of us who read nonfiction and Margaret Atwood instead of beach novels are secure enough in our intellects that we can admit we watch and enjoy television. And if someone really doesn’t have a TV, they do sometimes miss out. Just ask Matt Selman, who has one of the best stories of stinging a non-television watching tool that I have ever heard.
For example, the people who supply some of our favorite voices have no shortage of work, such as Russi Taylor and Tress MacNeille, who work together also on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Taylor provides the voice of one of my faves, Martin Prince, and as well as Sherri & Terri, among others. MacNeille also supplies many character voices; among my faves are Jimbo, Brandine, and Agnes Skinner (quite the range, eh?)
Yeardley Smith is best known for being the voice of Lisa Simpson, but she also starred in the ever-cherished Herman’s Head, played the only likeable character in AS GOOD AS IT GETS (1997), and was Putter in THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN (1985). And sisters, if you have not seen BILLIE JEAN, do yourself a favor and put it on your queue! It’s even more feminist, provocative, and energizing now than it was back when I was a tweener, when “Fair
He looks sweet and mild, but don’t tick him off.
Harry Shearer is the voice behind many of the funniest and/or most beloved Simpsons characters, such as Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Burns, Smithers, Otto, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny, and, of course, Scratchy (among many, many others). But with his versatile voice and terrific singing ability, Shearer has appeared in oodles of films, including his role as G. Gordon Liddy in DICK (1999) and perhaps most famously as Derek Smalls in THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984). He also shows off those pipes in A MIGHTY WIND (2003), which might be the most underrated of the Guest, et al films.
David Silverman has been with the The Simpsons since its birth on The Tracey Ullman Show as animator, producer, creative consultant (whatever that is) and director – in addition to directing many episodes of the show, Silverman brilliantly directed THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (2007). In 2005, he got in front of the camera to teach a drawing lesson (watch “Goo Goo Gai Pan” on Hulu or wherever if you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ll thank me).
Silverman has also worked for Pixar and DreamWorks – he co-directed THE ROAD TO EL DORADO and the sassy MONSTERS,
I really liked her on Dharma and Greg, too.
Clearly, Silverman’s career of the last 20 years or so is impressive, sure, but perhaps the most intriguing thing you’ll find on Silverman’s IMDb page is the head animator credit (albeit spelled incorrectly) for the short TOM WAITS FOR NO ONE. In the 1990s, other Tom Waits fans and I spoke in hushed, revered tones of this film, not knowing whether to believe those who claimed to have seen it, but being jealous of them all the same just in case it could be true. If only we’d had YouTube, like the spoiled college kids of today:
According to Variety, Silverman is slated to direct a live-action film for MGM, an adaptation of the children’s book The Facttracker. Also on his schedule, IMDb reports Silverman will be directing a Disney film called THE PET,
Drawin’ Krusty. Just another day at the office.
If you’re not already following Silverman on Twitter*, do so now (tubatron). He’s funny, announces his groups’ appearances around LA (They are called Vaud and the Villains– hint: his handle is “tubatron” for a reason!) and likes to share the occasional photo (like the one I borrowed above). And maybe eventually he’ll share some 140-character anecdotes about his upcoming films with his followers as he sees fit (hint hint).
*If you’re not already following me on Twitter, what’s wrong with you? You can follow me (duve) and/or the awesome duo of Dr. Karma and me (Simpsonology).
Happy Father’s day, fathers!