What The Hell Happened to the Sitcom? (Top Ten TV Mega Post 5/10)

It’s been a while since I checked in with my TV mega post.

To recap…

Part One was New Shows, Part Two was The Imports, Part Three was Cable Comedies and Cartoons, Part Four was Premium Comedies. and now…

Part Five of the TV Mega Post is a list of Broadcast Network Sitcoms.

Everyone hates sitcoms. But also everyone secretly loves sitcoms. And I secretly love and hate sitcoms as well. Because, like most kids of my generation, I grew up sitting in front of a B&W TV watching sitcom after sitcom until I could recite every line. The Honeymooners, The Dick van Dyke Show and The Little Rascals reruns were an essential part of the television landscape when there were only seven TV channels and no cable and no internet and no Mel Rook and the 7 Deadly Sins. And I knew every line from every episode.

Ralph and Alice Kramden

“What do ya think of that, Ralph?” “Oh. He’s a regular wise guy. This one.”

And then one day they let the color bleed in with: One Day at a Time, All in the Family, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Maude, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and M.A.S.H..

And then the color bled back out again (so to speak) with shows like: Full House, Family Ties, Cheers, Friends and Seinfeld.

friends-tv-show

“It’s not like we didn’t know any black people. It’s just… that… all the black people we knew hated us or didn’t like coffee as much as we did.”

Sitcoms are the best and the worse of TV in one embarrassment filled half hour. You’re embarrassed watching. You’re embarrassed for the characters. And the characters are embarrassed for being in this week’s predicament. It’s comedy based on embarrassment. And that’s why so many people can’t even watch them. It makes them blush. It makes them cringe. Sitcoms make you cringe with one miscommunication after another.

You just want to yell, “FREEZE! Everybody Freeze!” And then climb into that oversized apartment and grab the two main characters and let them know that ONE THING that they desperately need to know about the other one. You know. That one piece of info that would solve ALL of this week’s problems.

Cosby

“Oh, he’s gonna let them have it now.”

AND NOW YOU BOTH KNOW! “He’s been a girl the whole time. He’s been in love with you the whole time. She’s your sister. She’s your boss. You’re both rich. You’re both broke. You’re both black. The cake is a lie. Soylent Green is people.” NOW YOU BOTH KNOW. Show’s over. Everybody go home. Studio audience can go home. Pack it up people. We solved the whole damn thing with simple communication.

But the question remains: What the hell happened to the sitcom format?

Well, I’ll tell you… They forgot about their live-in-front-of-a-studio-audience roots. They forgot about Jackie Gleason. Who would flub a line live like saying “I’m uh scared” instead of ‘I’m scared’ and then spend the next five minutes saying it wrong on purpose while the audience laughed their asses off. Where’s the spontaneity in canned laughter?

live studio audience

“In answer to your question… once again. No, I am not Tyler Perry. Does anyone have a non Tyler Perry related question?”

They forgot about Norman Lear. Who made the sitcom a true social commentary that the entire world would talk about the next day around the water cooler or the lunch table. There used to be more drama in a network sitcom than on the network dramas.

They would talk about Politics, Pregnancy, Rape, Racism and anything that was in the news. Hell, they used to MAKE the news.

Sammy Davis and Archie Bunker

The first interracial same-sex kiss on national television. Believe it or not even this was scandalous… because right after this kiss Archie Bunker started the Tea Party.

They forgot how to let a show evolve. They’re much too quick to pull something off the air that they don’t understand or that makes them uncomfortable. Because of some executive who can’t answer his child’s questions about homosexuality, drugs or black people.

“Daddy, what are black people?” 

“Look it up on Google, son.”

They forgot that the sitcom is an art form.

Married with Children

“Did that fool just call us an art form? Straighten up kids and try to look like art.”

So, screw this list. They cancelled three of the shows on my original list, anyway… while I was compiling it. (Goodbye Community) Here, instead, are fifteen shows that I loved. Five classics that invented or perfected their sitcom style, five recent shows that have kept it up and five more that were cancelled much too soon.

You’ll get the picture. Just adjust your rabbit ears. The following blog post was filmed before a live studio audience.

To the list…

Make Room for Mommy, Daddy and Baby Too

The Family Sitcom was one of the earliest sitcom styles. For most episodes there was only one set. Usually a living room or a kitchen, and every story in the neighborhood would trample through one door, drop the comedy and exit through another. The list includes The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Married with Children and All in the Family.

My three favorites (one classic, one recent and one short-lived) feature the hottest mother/daughter combos in TV history starting with this 70’s single mom sitcom.

One Day at a Time (CBS)

One Day at a Time

“Help us. We’ve become slaves to that creepy mustache.”

Developed by Norman Lear

Starring Bonnie FranklinMackenzie PhillipsRichard MasurValerie Bertinelli & Pat Harrington

209 episodes

I loved this show. And I was in love with Valerie Bertinelli (like the rest of America). But the character of Schneider (the handyman) was the creepiest character in television history. All single mom’s were warned to watch out for a handyman with a 70’s porn stache. Did you know the character of Schneider was supposed to be sexy? He wasn’t.

 

Modern Family (ABC)

Modern Family

Created by Christopher Lloyd & Steven Levitan

Starring Ed O’NeillSofía VergaraJulie BowenTy BurrellJesse Tyler FergusonEric StonestreetSarah HylandAriel WinterNolan GouldRico Rodriguez & Aubrey Anderson-Emmons

120 episodes and counting

With brilliant writing, casting and acting, from the veteran Ed O’Neill down to the youngest child, Modern Family is the best sitcom on network TV with the best cast. And the hottest mother/daughter combo with Julie Bowen and Sarah Hyland.

Modern Family cast at 2012 Emmys

“Another Emmy. You shouldn’t have. Put it with the others.”

 

Grounded for Life (FOX, The WB)

Grounded-for-Life

“Look like we’re having fun maybe we won’t get cancelled.”

Created by Bill Martin & Mike Schiff

Starring Donal LogueMegyn PriceKevin CorriganLynsey BartilsonGriffin FrazenJake BurbageBret Harrison & Richard Riehle

91 episodes

FOX cancelled this Irish-Catholic New York family sitcom after two and a half seasons. The WB picked it up and then did the same. It deserved better. Megyn Price and Lynsey Bartilson made a hot mother/daughter combo themselves.

Grounded

“What network are we on? It doesn’t matter they’re just gonna cancel us too.”

Time to go to work…

Down at the Office Some Funny Shit Happened

The workplace sitcom didn’t really catch on until women were accepted in the office. Nobody wanted a half hour of just dudes in suits making deals. So the first really popular ones were about women going to work. And there were a lot of great ones like The Dick van Dyke Show, M.A.S.H., Cheers, Murphy Brown, The Mary Tyler Moore Show etc.

But my three favorite workplace comedies all involved superstar casts working in broadcast media with a dynamic duo at the helm. Starting with this wonderfully star-studded radio news show.

NewsRadio (NBC)

NewsRadio

Created by Paul Simms

Starring Dave FoleyStephen RootAndy DickJoe RoganMaura TierneyVicki LewisKhandi AlexanderPhil Hartman & Jon Lovitz

97 episodes

Newsradio was one of the funniest workplace sitcoms with an amazing cast, including the brilliant Phil Hartman (the Ted Knight of his era… still miss you Phil), a young Andy Dick, Stephen Root, Dave Foley and Joe Rogan. I loved it so much.

Joe Rogan

“What did you say your name was again?”

 

30 Rock (NBC)

30 Rock

Created by Tina Fey

Starring Tina Fey, Alec BaldwinTracy MorganJane KrakowskiJack McBrayerScott AdsitJudah Friedlander & Katrina Bowden

138 episodes

There was Hepburn & Tracy (Adam’s Rib, Woman of the Year), before that Colbert & Gable (It Happened One Night), and before that Loy & Powell (The Thin Man) and then there was the great Fey & Baldwin.

Fey and Baldwin

“It’s almost over, Alec. Then I can go on to make movies and you can go on to yelling homophobic slurs at paparazzi. Our new lives have just begun.”

These two were so good together it was so much fun to watch them play off each other. And they never ruined it with a dopey romance. 30 Rock delivered madcap fast paced dialogue and witty repartee like hasn’t been seen on television. And then they had the gall to do it all live in front of America… twice. Damn good show. I’m going to miss it.

 

Sports Night (ABC)Sports Night

Created by Aaron Sorkin

Starring Josh CharlesPeter KrauseFelicity HuffmanJoshua MalinaSabrina Lloyd & Robert Guillaume

45 episodes

There was Aaron Sorkin’s fantastic quick and witty writing but there was also this amazing cast, led beautifully by the versatile Felicity Huffman and anchored by the great Robert Guillaume, that made Sports Night so damn good that I still miss it.

Guillaume and Huffman

“It’s been years. Is he ever gonna get over this damn show?”

Bring back Sports Night.

And now a word from our friends and neighbors…

A Bunch of Friends Sitting Around Talking 

Young people sharing their first apartment or going to school together or just having adventures together is our next format. A hybrid of the family and workplace sitcoms because it split time between where they lived and where they worked, went to school or just hung out. (bar, coffee shop, restaurant). The basic formula is this: two hot girls, one funny one and three non-threatening dudes. The best of this format came in the 90’s with Friends or Seinfeld and continued with Big Bang Theory

But my favorite friends sitcoms (one classic, one recent and one short-lived) are these. Starting with the most risqué sitcom of the 70’s that starred the late great John Ritter.

Three’s Company (ABC)

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/photopost/data/925/80jrtribute14.jpg

“We got the hot girls (one of them funny) but I guess I’ll have to be all three non-threatening dudes. The older brother, the gay guy, and the ladies man with a heart of… Oh my god, I am all three!”

Based on Man About the House created by Johnnie Mortimer & Brian Cooke

Starring John RitterJoyce DeWittSuzanne SomersNorman FellAudra LindleyDon KnottsRichard KlineAnn WedgeworthJenilee Harrison & Priscilla Barnes

172 episodes

Three single roommates sharing an apartment. Two women and one guy? Think of the possibilities. John Ritter and Suzanne Somers were amazing in this show. With Joyce DeWitt stuck playing the straight man (so to speak) for the two comedy gods.

Ritter, DeWitt and Somers

“Are you John Ritter?” “Yes.” “Have you been in our shower the whole time?” “Yes.”

Ritter was the first openly gay character on a sitcom (even if he was faking it). It was more acceptable that he was gay than if he was straight living with two hot girls. Let that sink in.

 

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

how I met your mother

“Two hot girls (one funny) and three non-threatening dudes… got it.”

Created by Carter Bays & Craig Thomas

Starring Josh RadnorJason SegelCobie SmuldersNeil Patrick HarrisAlyson Hannigan & Cristin Milioti

208 episodes

I loved this show. I started late, so I totally got to binge watch the first six seasons and that was legen- wait for it. I loved the story told in flashbacks and I even loved the way it ended. I thought the last season was sensational. I think they found the perfect actress to play the mother and I’m going to miss these characters immensely. -dary There I said it.

But I will really miss the prematurely cancelled but freaking hysterical…

Happy Endings (ABC)

Happy Endings

“Two hot girls. One funny… check. Are the dudes too threatening for you people?”

Created by David Caspe

Starring Eliza CoupeElisha CuthbertZachary KnightonAdam PallyDamon Wayans, Jr. & Casey Wilson

57 episodes

I’m sure the suits found a lot to complain about the hilariously funny Happy Endings. There was an interracial couple. There was an openly gay character that wasn’t effeminate. And it was actually very good and it was very funny. So their heads were exploding. I’m sure.

Casey Wilson, Adam Pally

“Wait, did he just say we got cancelled?”

They treated the show like a redheaded step-child and then finally put it out of its misery. What a talented and funny cast. And a great set of writers. Damn suits strike again… the bastards.

 

And now it’s time for some love…

A Loving Couple or The Two Best Friends in the World

Along the same vein of the bunch of friends sitting around talking sitcom format is the Just the Two of Us format. Either a couple, always married in the beginning if they were different sexes. Or the (not gay) best friends (seriously, we’re not gay), starting with the famous comedy duos of old. (Amos & Andy, Abbott & Costello) through the bosom buddies from perfect strangers of the 80’s (Bosom Buddies, Perfect Strangers) to the two broke girls in short skirts working at a diner. And of course their next door neighbors.

The best of these was the incomparable The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason threatening to punch his wife (the equally funny Aubrey Meadows) each week but my personal favorite was the hilarious Lucy Ball and the dashing Dezi Arnaz in

I Love Lucy (CBS)

I Love Lucy

“You see. I take all the money and you do all the heavy lifting. That sounds fair, right?”

Written by Jess OppenheimerMadelyn DavisBob Carroll, Jr.Bob Schiller & Bob Weiskopf

Starring Lucille BallDesi ArnazVivian VanceWilliam Frawley & Keith Thibodeaux

181 episodes

The show could be boiled down into one important question? What sort of crazy-ass shit was Lucy going to get into this week. Lucille Ball is one of my comedy icons. Someone once described watching her as frightening. And I had to agree with them because you never knew what she was going to do from one moment to the next in any situation.

Lucy Ball

“Lucy. You got some ‘splaining to do.”

There’s what normal people would do. Also there’s what funny people would do and silly people. And of course what crazy people would do. THEN there was what Lucy would do. Which was all of those things combined and it just made you scream at your TV.

Chocolate Factory

“Speed up the line!”

Today people can watch Lucy and say that it’s derivative of something. That it’s Monty Python or something they saw on SNL, Tina Fey or Carol Burnett. But no… they were all doing Lucy. They were all imitating Lucille Ball; One of the funniest people to ever walk on the surface of the planet. I kid you not. And she was drop dead gorgeous as well.

 

2 Broke Girls (CBS)

2-broke-girls

Created by Michael Patrick King & Whitney Cummings

Starring Kat DenningsBeth BehrsGarrett MorrisJonathan KiteMatthew Moy & Jennifer Coolidge

72 episodes and counting

I like the show because it feels like something out of the “live studio audience” era. All of the jokes are for the back row or for the balcony with a strong music hit for emphasis. The cast is funny and the jokes are very jokey but still funny and except for the subject matter, it all feels like something from a bygone era.

2.Broke.Girls

“Why are you making that face?” “I just realized that Mel doesn’t fantasize about us separately. He wants a three-way.” “Dream on blog boy.”

I’m still a big fan of 2 Broke Girls but mostly because the two leads are so good, so funny and both really really hot. Bring back Mary Lynn Rajskub already. She was great.

 

Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 (ABC)

Don't Trust the B in Apt 23

“We’ve been cancelled for over a year and look at us now… back on Mel’s blog. I told you he’s in love with me.”

Created by Nahnatchka Khan

Starring Krysten RitterDreama WalkerJames Van Der BeekLiza LapiraMichael Blaiklock & Eric André

26 episodes

I completely understand why the suits were afraid of this one. It was raunchy and it was weird. It was funny and it was sexy. It was too good for Disney. The cast was superb. Krysten Ritter (no relation) became one of my favorite people. And it also showed us a whole other side of James Van Der Beek (the man is very funny).

“We’re gonna make a movie!” “Really?” “No. We’re just fucking with you.”

James hinted at a possible movie project for the characters on his twitter feed under a pic of him and Krysten but he was probably teasing. Shut up and take my money, James.

Don't Trust the B in apt 23

“Stick close by. He’s in love with me but Mel doesn’t give a shit about you.”

Shut up and take my money.

And finally the wild and the wacky…

The Half Hour of Pure Insanity

And lastly there is my favorite network sitcom format; the half hour of pure insanity. This is the one that never lasts. The one that upsets the suits the most and makes the letter writing housewives write letters. A show that confuses the old people. Where the rules of society barely matter and it’s basically a free for all with science fiction and fantasy elements and basic zaniness. It can involve families or friends or work colleagues but there’s always a little something extra. And very few of them survive the first cut.

The best of these, in my opinion, was the fantastic

3rd Rock from the Sun (NBC)

3rd-rock-from-the-sun

Created by Bonnie Turner and Terry Turner

Starring John LithgowKristen JohnstonFrench StewartJoseph Gordon-LevittJane CurtinSimbi KhaliElmarie Wendel & Wayne Knight

139 episodes

This was not the family sitcom or the friends sitcom or work. It was all of them at once. They were a group of aliens pretending to be a family of humans. They weren’t a family of aliens. They were just work colleagues. And their job was to observe earth culture before a possible invasion from their home planet. This was a brilliant comedy with a stellar cast.

3rd rock from the sun

“Will I be hot when I grow up?” “Oh, Tommy. Don’t make us laugh.”

John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart and a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt along with the great Jane Curtain and the hilarious Wayne Knight made 3rd Rock from the Sun a fun show to watch. One of my favorite shows of all time.

 

Community (NBC)

community

Created by Dan Harmon

Starring Joel McHaleGillian JacobsDanny PudiYvette Nicole BrownAlison BrieDonald GloverKen JeongChevy Chase & Jim Rash

97 episodes

Community was the best sitcom on TV for a few years. Definitely the most creative. They wouldn’t just reference pop culture and nerd culture or movies and TV shows, they would become them. The idea that all the characters were actually just hallucinating patients with mental disorders or that they were on a TV show inside one of the character’s heads made it fun. The writing and the direction on this show was second to none.

Community mental hospital

“Why are we laughing?” “They’re out of Thorazine!” “But why is that funny?”

They did two amazing Dungeons and Dragons episodes and a few where they became cartoons or claymation. The show often changed the reality of their surroundings into these wonderful themes. The greatness of community was in the themed episodes.

Community Paintball

“I don’t want to kill you and you don’t want to be dead.”

From the amazing paintball episodes to the alternate timelines created by a roll of the dice (so many Doctor Who references), there was a lot to love about community. And that was why I loved this last season so much. Every episode had its own theme. From the savage wasteland of Lava World to the five tiered society brought on by social media run wild to the reading of Pierce’s will (what a great episode). This final season of Community was Community’s best season.

Community Lava World

“For the last time. It’s my mess and I will unclog it.” “Never!”

Community was the most creative and entertaining and thought-provokingly geeky sitcom on television. And then they cancelled it… the bastards.

 

And lastly the extremely short-lived and hysterically funny nine whole episodes of…

The Tick (FOX)

The Tick

Created by Ben Edlund

Starring Patrick WarburtonDavid BurkeNestor Carbonell & Liz Vassey

9 episodes

The Tick was like something out of a fever dream… and it was awesome. Ben Edlund is a genius. The live-action show was based on the cartoon version that ran from 1994-96 (one of the funniest cartoons ever. If you ask me… and you just did) The Tick, the live-action show lasted a mere nine episodes on FOX. (Say it with me people… the bastards)

The Tick cast

“Try and look cool. We’re superheroes.”

It has been described as an absurdist take on the superhero genre but it was much more than that. It was like a comic version of Watchmen. A bunch of guys playing superhero but only one of them has super powers… the indestructible Tick. It was blisteringly funny.

The Tick and Arthur

“This guy really liked our show. What a nice man.”

The Tick is brilliant and it’s funny and it is absurd and it should have been given time to breathe. I think it would have been amazing to see where they went. We haven’t had a good silly superhero adult comedy since the 1960’s Batman (with Adam West). It was time for a new one. But of course they cancelled it. (one more time) …the bastards.

And that’s ten… well actually that’s fifteen. Five classics, five recent shows and five that were gone too soon. So there. I’ve done the sitcom format more justice than it deserves.

Currently I’m enjoying New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks and Recreation but who knows when the suits will get around to cancelling those… the bastards.

Next up… Talk Shows

See you guys on the couch,

– Mel

6 Quick Reviews of 6 New DVD Releases in June

My DVD folder is full. There were a surprising number of early June releases that were worthy to be reviewed. And by that I mean action, adventure, sci-fi, comedy, you know, the kind of stuff I like.

This months installment is a star-studded affair. There are mega stars galore from Morgan Freeman to Keira Knightley and all points in between. And it’s a banner month for 5 Quick Reviews because 80% of the movies I review are pretty good including two of the best movies I’ve seen all year. So… yeah.

To the reviews…

First up… a sci-fi indie

The Machine (Content Media)

The Machine

Written & Directed by Caradog W. James

Starring  Caity LotzSam HazeldineToby StephensPooneh Hajimohammadi & Denis Lawson

The Machine is a mildly cool movie about two super-scientists who create an Artificial Intelligence for the military. There’s the normal thing where the scientists want to save lives, particularly one scientist’s daughter, who has a traumatic brain injury, and of course the military who wants to create killer robots that can think for themselves.

Caity Lotz

So much good stuff buried under bad acting and bad music. A fine story about Artificial Intelligence and scientific ethics. But there was too much added on. The lead actress (Caity Lotz who played Black Canary on Arrow) is hot, has a great body and is a good fighter but she can’t act, not even as a robot. So bad, the movie becomes unwatchable.

The Machine 2

The story, about a man trying to save his disabled daughter, by making advances in brain implants, while the company that finances him is using the research to make a humanoid weapon, is a great story. But the bad acting and awful music ruin the movie.

The Machine 3

Skip it. (It’s a good story but it is a unwatchably bad movie)

Next up… Get off my plane…

Non-Stop (Universal Pictures)

Non-StopDirected by Jaume Collet-Serra

Written by John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle

Starring Liam NeesonJulianne MooreScoot McNairyMichelle DockeryNate ParkerJason Butler HarnerAnson Mount & Lupita Nyong’o

Non-stop is an airplane action mystery that looks good going in. Who is killing the passengers on the plane, one by one? Liam Neeson is on the case. Liam Neeson is on the phone. He has a particular set of skills.

Liam Neeson and Michelle Dockery

This should have been a cool movie. It has a great cast. Including Michelle Dockery (from Downton Abbey), Lupita Nyong’o (from 12 Years a Slave) and Julianne Moore (from my fucking dreams). And there’s more than enough room for terror at 30,000 feet. But the movie is boring. The next paragraph may be a little spoilery but… The movie is boring.

Julianne Moore

Non-Stop has too many fake outs and the plot becomes convoluted quickly. The great cast is underutilized. And even the mystery is flat. Non-Stop is boring. There were so many roads they could have gone down that would have been more interesting. The movie teases us with a more interesting story but instead delivers something boring.

non-stop Liam Neeson

Skip it. (Swing and a miss)

Next…

The Grand Budapest Hotel  (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

kinopoisk.ru

Directed by Wes Anderson

Written by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Starring Ralph FiennesF. Murray AbrahamEdward NortonMathieu AmalricSaoirse RonanAdrien BrodyWillem DafoeLéa SeydouxJeff GoldblumJason SchwartzmanJude LawTilda SwintonHarvey KeitelTom WilkinsonBill Murray & Owen Wilson

The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson at his best. I love his work (even though there’s a stark lack of “color”). I couldn’t help but notice the complete absence of “color”.

And then it hit me.

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL film

It is the lack of color that makes it so funny and so quirky. The influence of black people in the world and around the world is absent in every facet of his films. It is that absence that is precisely what is weird about them. That thing that is not quite right with the music and the wardrobes and the set decoration, even the attitudes.

There is no funk. There is no soul. There is no bass in the music or slang in the dialogue. It is the whitest of worlds without even a hint of the influence of black culture… And it is hysterical. It makes for a world that is so fucking funny.

Grand-Budapest-Hotel-Ed-Norton

It is not that his movies are simply absent of black people. The absence of black people is a huge element to the movies. It is not a bug but a feature. It is why his world is so… off. So odd. So funny. It is an extremely white world. Love to visit. Wouldn’t want to live there.

But Wes Anderson is fast becoming one of my favorite filmmakers and The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of his best. There is a great plot, great writing and a lot of funny actors giving quirky, dead-pan, comedic performances and the customary sweetness.

grand-budapest-hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is fantastic.

Ralph Fiennes

Rent it (Unless you don’t like Wes Anderson and if that’s the case then what the hell is wrong with you? Are you some kind of freak?)

Next up… the best movie ever made…

The Lego Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Lego Movie poster

Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Written by Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Starring Chris PrattWill FerrellElizabeth BanksWill ArnettNick OffermanAlison BrieCharlie DayLiam Neeson & Morgan Freeman

The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie is an amazing work of art. Sublime in its beauty. Funny, touching, exciting, romantic, completely and outrageously silly, stunningly philosophical and intelligent. It is just wonderful… Oh my god. It’s a movie starring a bunch of toys and it’s one of the best movies I have seen in a long long time. Yes. It really is that good.

Good Cop

Fantastic cast. Extremely well-written. A movie that adheres to a theme. These are toys. They are toys. Oh my god It’s a movie starring a bunch of toys. And I know, Toy Story did the whole living toy… story a long time ago. But not like this. Not this good.

The Lego Movie

These are toys with a history. With a political and religious ideology. The imagination of creating a world within a world within a world. And I know Wreck-it Ralph did it just a little while ago but not like this. Not this good. The Lego Movie is an amazing work of art.

The Master Builders

And don’t get me wrong, it is utterly and unapologetically silly and childlike. But it is also one of the most sophisticated stories and one of the best movies I have seen in a long long time. A nomination for best picture oscar. And it’s a movie starring a bunch of toys.

"... and Batman."

“… and don’t forget about Batman.”

Oh yeah… And Batman.

The Lego Movie is Awesome

Rent it. (I’m going to buy this one if that wasn’t already clear from how much I loved it)

Next up…

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (StudioCanal UK)

Alpha Papa

Directed by Declan Lowney

Written by Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Steve CooganArmando Iannucci & Peter Baynham  Based on Characters created by Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci, Patrick Marber and Peter Baynham

Starring Steve CooganColm Meaney,  Felicity Montagu & Simon Greenall

The great Armando Iannucci and the hysterically funny Steve Coogan are at it again with their iconic character Alan Partridge. A failed talk show host. A failed morning DJ. A failed talk show host again. Alan Partridge is one of my favorite absurd fictional characters.

Alan Partridge

Before Ron Burgundy there was Alan Partridge: Created by Armando Iannucci, the mastermind behind The Thick of It (with Peter Capaldi) and Veep (with Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and the very funny Steve Coogan. Alpha Papa is a hilariously funny and exciting Alan Partridge adventure.

Alan Partridge in the studio

In Alpha Papa, Alan Partridge is working as a mid-morning DJ when the studio is taken over by a large corporation. One of his colleagues, who does not take his firing well, takes the radio station hostage. The versatile Colm Meaney plays the hostage taker and Alan Partridge is thrusts back into the limelight through all the media coverage. Which is, if you know Alan Partridge, exactly what he wants. He is loving it.

Colm Meaney

So, as Alan plans to make the most of the armed siege, comedy ensues. Alpha Papa doesn’t get up to speed quickly but once it does it is a very funny movie. One of the best Alan Partridge stories I’ve seen. Absolutely his best film.

Alan Partridge is back

If you don’t know Alan Partridge, don’t worry. You can start with this movie. Even if it isn’t familiar, it’s still very funny. And a good silly British comedy.

Rent it. (If you can find it)

Next up… the return of Jack Ryan…

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Paramount Pictures)

Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp  Based on  Characters created by Tom Clancy

Starring Chris PineKevin CostnerKenneth Branagh & Keira Knightley

International espionage finds a young Jack Ryan in Russia on the hunt for insider trading terrorists while also trying to maintain a relationship with his fiancé who thinks he must be cheating on her because of all the secrecy but if she’d just marry him already then he could tell her that he’s in the CIA. You know, that old chestnut.

Jack Ryan

This is Tom Clancy’s famous spy at the very beginning of his career. Shadow Recruit is a little slow at first but it’s still a good origin story and a good movie.

Keira Knightley

Kenneth Branagh directs the movie and stars as the Russian bad guy trying to destroy the American economy. He is a fine director and a decent actor. He still hasn’t matched his first film for the sheer artistry and excellence (Henry V is on my top ten of all-time) but Kenneth Branagh has proven time and again that he’s a good story-teller.

Kenneth Branagh and Kiera Knightley

Shadow Recruit has a great cast. Keira Knightley does an American accent that her beauty helps me forgive (it’s pretty bad). Kevin Costner plays an older agent and mentor to Ryan. (The second recent movie I’ve seen with Costner as an old CIA operative) and Chris Pine does a good Jack Ryan (not as good as his Captain Kirk but still pretty good).

Kevin Costner

There is nothing special in Shadow Recruit. It is not exceptional but it’s not a bad film. It is just your standard international espionage fare with pretty people and lots of guns and chases and spies. Slow at the beginning but action packed toward the end.

Chris Pine and Kevin Costner

Rent it. (If you like a good spy thriller)

So to recap…

There were two movies about the military trying to make their own killing machine; The Machine and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. One with by far better acting than the other but both with pretty good stories.

There were two movies about cartoonishly strange worlds with really cool and interesting characters; The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Lego Movie. Two of the best movies I have seen all year that I recommend highly.

And there were two movies about men with a particular set of skills trying to survive a hostage situation; Non-Stop and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. One of them unpredictably bad and the other predictably good.

And that’s it. There were some good movies this time. All of them worth a look. Only four of them I recommend but two that I could not recommend highly enough.

Go watch some movies.

See you on the couch,

– Mel

Edge of Tomorrow: A Spoiler-free Review

Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Edge of Tomorrow

Directed by Doug Liman

Written by Christopher McQuarrieJez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth  Based on All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Starring Tom CruiseEmily BluntBill Paxton & Brendan Gleeson

There isn’t an actor alive who can get me into the theater just by having his name on the marquee. Not Will Smith or Liam Neeson or Tom Hanks. And not Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise Bill Paxton

“You’re Tom Cruise? That’s it, man, game over man. Game over.”

But dammit, when Tom Cruise does Science Fiction, I am there with bells on. The man knows a good sci-fi script when he reads one. And once he is attached, everybody else involved steps up their game. Casting, directing, editing, special effects…

Emily Blunt Tom Cruise

“These packs are heavy.” “Yes I know.” “I’m getting paid more than you.” ” Yes I know.”

More than a few of my favorite films are science fiction movies that star Tom Cruise. And Edge of Tomorrow is no exception. It is an awesome piece of entertainment.

Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow

“You’d think with as good an eye as I have for Science Fiction, I’d know that Dianetics is just cheesy sci-fi bullshit… now who do I sue?”

I had an idea of what to expect from the trailer and I was excited. I love the Groundhogs Day time travel story. And I know it predates that movie but Groundhogs is by far the most popular version. Star Trek: The Next Generation made great use of the repeating day. And so did Buffy The Vampire Slayer (to a lesser but infinitely funnier extent).

Edge of Tomorrow Jump

“Express elevator to hell. Going down.”

The prematurely cancelled Daybreak had an interesting take where the afflicted not only carried their memories through the reset but their injuries as well. (that was brutal and I loved it) Death is not the reset in most of them, it is time. At a particular time of day the world resets and we start again. When it is well-done, it rocks.

Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise

“I’m getting too old for this shit.”

In Edge of Tomorrow, death is the only reset. Which makes for a lot of really cool deaths.

Tom Cruise Emily Blunt Reset

“You have been accused of crimes against nature and crimes against humanity. What do you have to say for yourself?” “Um… do over.”

As in Groundhog’s Day, Tom Cruise has a lot to learn and all the time in the world to do it. Tom does an amazing job once again. It is rare for him to turn in a half-assed performance. Hell, it’s rare if he lets anybody working with him turn in a half-assed performance. Tom is amazing as always. Emily Blunt is wonderful (OMG that body). Her Personal Trainer deserves an Oscar all his own.

Emily Blunt

“Yes. I look like a badass in this movie. What’s it to you? You can blame Linda Hamilton and James Cameron for that. Women who kick ass in movies have to look like it now.”

Edge of Tomorrow is exactly as advertised. Action. Aliens. Epic Battles, Time Travel, The Evolution of a the main character from a sniveling coward into Major Kickass and Great Tech; The armor suits are cool as hell. I loved it. Doug Liman has done a fantastic job and made a great movie with all kinds of James Cameron nods throughout. To me, Edge of Tomorrow is as good as The Bourne Identity.

"Come and find me when you wake up."

“Come and find me when you wake up.”

Go see Edge of Tomorrow while it’s still on the big screen. The battles alone are worth the price of admission. But the story. The characters. Emily Blunt’s (Cloud Strife like) mega blade, her ready-for-combat body transformation and Tom motherfucking Cruise make it worthy of IMAX 3D (That’s right I said spring for the big package.. ain’t nobody playing).

Live. Die. Repeat.

Badasses!

Bottomline: Edge of Tomorrow is a great movie.

Later,

– Mel

Top Ten Bisexual TV Characters

The TV mega post has taken a turn for the difficult (I hate sitcoms). So instead of wracking my brain to come up with sitcoms (that are still on the air… R.I.P. Community gone too soon), here’s the list I promised you guys after the first installment.

My top ten favorite bisexual TV characters.

The rules are simple.

1) The character should be seen having sex with both men and women on the show (or at least it’s strongly implied).

2) I have to like the show they’re on. and

3) The character has to be sexy.

To the list…

THE SUPERNATURAL MONSTERS

Sex with these two just might kill you, but oh what a beautiful death.

Eric Northman (The Vampire) from True Blood (HBO)

Eric Northman

Sexy Eric

On a show with no shortage of bisexual characters (I like to call it bisexual softcore splatter porn… but that’s just me), Eric Northman’s insatiable lust for sex is only matched by his thirst for blood. A fan favorite from the first season, his character has evolved from being a sexy bad guy to being a sexy good guy to being a sexy badass.

Eric Northman 2

Bloody Eric

He shows up a lot on my blog so needless to say… I want to do bad things with him.

Bo Dennis (The Succubus) from Lost Girl (SyFy)

Bo Dennis and Lauren

Bo on top

This is Bo Dennis (the one on top).

Bo Dennis and Dyson

And here she is on the bottom

Bo has to be careful not to drain all the energy from her lovers. It would kill them. She’s a badass succubus. She uses sexual energy to survive and to heal. She’s the star of the fantastic Canadian show Lost Girl. She leaves a trail of bodies behind her.

Bo

She’s so freaking sexy, the queue to be her next victim circles around the block.

Next up…

THE DRAMATIC BAD-BOYS

These two powerful, sexy and well-dressed bad-boys are not to be fucked with.

Nolan Ross (The Hacker) from Revenge (ABC)

Emily (Amanda) and Nolan

Nolan Ross, best friend of Amanda…. Emily… um Amanda,  is a tech genius and master of disguise, who may not intimidate physically but will fuck your shit up with a computer.

Nolan and his boyfriend

Nolan and his boyfriend

He likes boys.

Nolan and his girlfriend

Nolan and his girlfriend

He likes girls.

Nolan in Disguise

Nolan in Disguise

He likes disguises. Nolan is cool. Nolan is sexy.

Frank Underwood (The Powerbroker) from House of Cards (Netflix)

Frank Underwood is an elected official with a thirst for power on the Netflix series House of Cards. No spoilers. No spoilers. Some people still haven’t gotten around to it..

Frank Underwood

“You’d better not spoil a thing.”

But I have to spoil this one little thing in order to justify putting him on this list…

Frank loves his wife.

Frank loves his wife.

Frank loves his wife.

Frank loves his bodyguard

Frank loves his bodyguard

Frank loves his bodyguard.

Frank loves Zoe

Frank loves Zoe

But most of all… Frank loves power. Frank is evil. Frank is sexy.

Next up…

THE SCI-FI HOTTIES

These two hotties will screw anything that moves. Just don’t fall in love.

Oberyn Martell (The Prince) from Game of Thrones (HBO)

Prince Oberyn and Tyrion

Prince Oberyn Martell is a well-dressed renown fighter from the HBO show Game of Thrones. He sauntered his well-dressed ass onto the screen in season four and quickly became a fan favorite for his fighting skills, badassness, and sexual appetite.

Oberyn

“Take off your clothes.”

He likes it all.

Oberyn and Ellaria

Oberyn and Ellaria and a whore (she is not timid)

And so does his lady, Ellaria Sand. They were the sexiest bisexual couple in Westeros. Quite possibly on TV (depending on who Eric Northman is banging). I hate to see him go.

Jack Harkness (The Captain) from Doctor Who & Torchwood (BBC)

Jack likes humans and non-humans alike

“Are you female or male? Oh who cares. Let’s fuck.”

Captain Jack became a fan favorite when he first appeared on the BBC hit Doctor Who and quickly earned a spin-off show called Torchwood. He won us over with his gorgeous smile and his cool-as-hell overcoat. His flirty bravado and his swashbuckling style.

Captain Jack is hot

Captain Jack is hot

Captain Jack is hot.

Jack and Ianto

Jack and Ianto… (heart breaking).

Captain Jack was real hot. But unfortunately Torchwood didn’t last. I hated to see him go.

Next up..

THE PRISON BITCHES

These women leave a path of sexual and physical destruction wherever they go.

Nancy Botwin (The Dealer) from Weeds (SHO)

Nancy Botwin

Nancy sells that MILF weed.

Nancy Botwin is the main character of the Showtime comedy Weeds. A sexy mother of three who manipulates men and women alike with her sexuality and love of danger. She starts off as a minor weed dealer and quickly builds a drug empire, leaving broken hearts and broken bodies in her wake. She’s bad to the bone and sexy to the core.

Nancy behind bars

Nancy behind bars

I can’t officially call her bisexual but she did have a prison fling. So, she makes the list for her sexy time behind bars. The opposite to her exception being next on the list.

Piper Chapman (The Smuggler)  from Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

Piper Chapman

Piper behind bars

Piper Chapman is the main character in the Netflix comedy Orange is the New Black. A sexy bride-to-be who goes to prison for an old drug smuggling charge. She is also manipulative and gets her way with a carefully placed flirty smile.

Piper behind bars

Still behind bars

There has been only one season. So I don’t know if Piper is a lesbian who was in denial for a little bit or bisexual. However she’s slept with men on the show and she’s slept with women on the show, so that qualifies her for this list.

Piper  and Alex

Piper and Alex

Like Nancy, I’m going to call her bisexual. It’s more fun that way.

THE EVIL ALIENS

These women will fuck you, kill you or both. They just haven’t decided yet.

Number Six (The Cylon) from Battlestar Galactica (SyFy)

Number Six

“Baltar. I want to have a three-way with D’anna.” “Oh. Alright. You’ve convinced me.”

Number Six is a Cylon from the space opera Battlestar Galactica. One of the first Cylons to show themselves to the enemy. She was deep undercover (in more ways than one).

Number Six and Baltar

“Would you destroy the world for me?” “You’re damn right I would… oh you’re serious.”

Not actually one single character, Cylon model Number Six are the ultimate femme fatale. Sexy assassin. terrorist. spy and temptress, they don’t know why they love sex so much. They just do. Sex with men, women. And sex with other Cylons.

Mirror Kira Nerys (The intendant) from Deep Space Nine (Synd)

Kira Nerys

Major Kira Nerys

Kira Nerys is a major on Deep Space Nine. A Bajoran, a badass but not evil. However in the mirror universe (bare with me. it’s a Star Trek thing), Kira Nerys was the Intendant of Terak Nor Station (DS9). A Bajoran, a badass, a bisexual and completely bad to the bone.

Kira Nerys kiss

Mirror Kira Nerys

Mirror Universe Star Trek is the best because all the characters are so much sexier.

And that’s ten bisexual characters… but wait there’s more. I also have two sexy fan fiction (and fan art) favorites to add… because I can.

THE FAN FICTION FAVES

Seven of Nine (The Borg) from Star Trek Voyager (UPN)

Seven of Nine

“I am… what the Borg would call… Very hot.”

Seven of Nine is a liberated Borg drone from Star Trek Voyager. She joined the Voyager crew and quickly became a fan favorite. She had romances with male crew members but the sexual tension between her and Janeway was palpable and inspired tons of fan fiction.

Seven and Janeway

“Seven, can I see you in my ready room?” “Are you ready for me, captain?”

And I’m inclined to agree.

Princess Xena (The Warrior) from Xena: Warrior Princess (Synd)

Xena

Xena with a sword.

Xena was a character from Hercules (and her own show) who may have been a demigod but was definitely a badass. She had romances with gods and demigods alike but her relationship with Gabrielle was understood by most fans of the show as more than just friends and it also inspired tons of sexy fan fiction.

Xena and Gabrielle

“We’re not about to kiss, Gabby.” “Oh yes we are.” “No we’re not.” ” Yes we are.”

Okay, now that’s twelve. Which is quite enough bisexual for one post. One for every month of the year (or hours on a clock if you’re a fast worker). This was a fun list to compile and I hope you liked it.

I didn’t include Sherlock because it was never confirmed that he liked men. He has sex with women on the show and in the beginning they assumed he was gay but they were mistaken and the John Watson / Sherlock Holmes (JohnLock) fan fiction is just wrong.

See you guys next time,

– Mel