By Chauncey Telese
Hello again, I hope everyone had a good weekend and if you bet on Seattle this weekend, I’m sure you had a GREAT weekend. I feel like an idiot for picking New Orleans to come out of the NFC and I almost give up in picking a team because this conference is a crapshoot but the best bet would probably be whoever wins the Green Bay and Atlanta game on Saturday. I felt bad for Vick on that last play but it didn’t shock me because Reid didn’t have Vick spike the ball because I guess he hadn’t had a bad clock management game in a while.
I hope Rex Ryan also appreciates the gift Caldwell gave him by allowing Nick Folk an easy kick (much to Manning’s chagrin but to be fair he didn’t bother to throw to Wayne because he was afraid of Revis). Ryan will get destroyed by a well-rested Pats team who will play a beat up Steelers team (because Baltimore will lose the game but still bruise Pittsburgh).
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Also, congratulations to Auburn for winning the fake BCS title (without a playoff you’re not a real champion but since this is the system technically they’re the champs) and if I’m Carolina, I’m taking a long look at Auburn’s defensive tackle Nick Fairley because that dude’s a beast! Good move on Les Miles’ part of staying at LSU because I wouldn’t want to coach Michigan because they aren’t patient but good luck Grady Hoke. And I called it last week when I said Harbaugh would leave Stanford because like an hour after my piece last week was posted he took the 49ers job because it was lucrative and he wanted to beat Pete Carroll twice a year.
Alright now that the sports are out of the way, let’s get to today’s reviews. Since I already covered “The Green Hornet” I decided to review some pilots that aired this week. Two pilots I’m covering air Sunday nights on Showtime and the other Tuesday nights on FX. Oh, before I start, one more thing. I must disclose that while I’m typing this, I’m watching “Million Dollar Money Drop” (I know, I know it’s a terrible show but there’s a reason), now while it does air on a Tuesday so you’re not liable to play it live (or maybe I’m not here to judge) I did manage to create the MDMD drinking game. Here are the rules.
Every time the wife (because usually it’s the wife) second guesses the husband and causes him to change the right answer resulting in them to loose money you take one shot.
When the couple starts to cry while anticipating the drops you take one shot.
Every time they clutch each other’s hands you take two shots.
When they bicker while talking out their answer you take two shots.
When they over celebrate an obvious answer you take a shot.
When the tension is at its highest and they cut to commercial you take three shots.
Whenever one of the contestants claims to know a category and then blows all of the money you take five shots.
Every time a couple says “I love you” or “Please, please come on (insert answer)” you take three shots.
If they win whatever money they have left you take three shots.
And finally, if they flame out and fall to their knees or get overly dramatic you take five shots.
I haven’t played this personally but I know if you and your friends (all 21 and over please) are bored, have nothing to do and this is on your DVR, it could be fun. It could be almost more fun then playing Dance Central., Enough fun and games, on to the pilots, the first of which is a new comedy from the people behind “Friends,” and it stars Matt LeBlanc.
“Episodes”: Welcome Back Joey, Welcome Back!
After “Friends” ended, Matt LeBlanc and NBC did a spin-off called “Joey” and it bottomed out despite NBC trying to hype it up as much as possible. Since then, LeBlanc disappeared like Keyzer Soze only without being a badass. He hasn’t done “Leno” or showed up in some sort of cameo or even guest-starred on some TV show. It’s been seven years since “Joey” and he’s been given another at bat by playing himself in “Episodes,” a series following the creators of a successful show in England and the trials of bringing it to America. This show is a satire of how Hollywood handles the successes of other countries shows, which is not well.
The show begins with Beverly Lincoln (Tamsin Grieg) walking out on her husband Sean (Stephen Managan) after she becomes frustrated with the stress of their show being ruined and apparently Sean has been a tad unfaithful (we don’t entirely know) and then while Beverly is on the road, she crashes into Matt LeBlanc. Then we jump back to six weeks prior where Sean and Beverly have won yet another BAFTA award for their show “Lyman’s Boys” and an American producer wants to bring their show to America.
They are hesitant to do this but decide that it will be a challenging but highly lucrative venture. They move into a mansion in Beverly Hills that has been used for several horror movies and a reality show. Sean and Beverly realize just because their show was a hit in England, the studio hasn’t seen it and they have to campaign to get their actor to continue as the star of the show. He auditions and, while he makes everyone laugh, the producers feel he’s too British. Sean and Beverly are dismayed and that is when they’re marriage begins to deteriorate.
Like I said, Matt LeBlanc isn’t in the pilot much but I get it because we already know who he is and the show needs to establish who Sean and Beverly are and why we should care whether or not they succeed. I’ve read several reviews of “Episodes” and they are all over the place; some people compare it to “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or other satire shows and others vilify it as garbage. I am not sure yet to be honest because I need to see more LeBlanc and while the previews sound promising I’m still not sold. It could be a funny show or it could be another sad chapter in LeBlanc’s career. Time will tell. If you are interested in “Episodes” its on at 630 eastern on Showtime following “Californication” which had an awesome season premiere and made me realize how much I’ve missed it. Now for the show that follows “Episodes, which ironically is an adaptation from a British series.
“Shameless”: My Love of This Show is Unabashedly Shameless
After the season finale of “Dexter,” Showtime offered up the first 20 minutes of their new dramedy, “Shameless.” I’d seen a plethora of promos for it featuring an alcoholic William H. Macy as a deadbeat single dad and Emmy Rossum as his 18-year-old daughter who has to be in charge of the other kids. I was sold.
I watched the first 20 minutes which is almost devoid of William H. Macy until the very end, and we sort of get an idea of who the kids are. Once the 20- minute preview was over, I was mad that I had to wait another month to see the rest of it because the show so far packed a lot of wit and appeared to be a lot of fun. After seeing the whole pilot, I can honestly say that this has the potential to be the best thing Showtime has to offer and even though the reviews - like those for “Episodes” - are all over the place, “Shameless” could wind up being one of the best shows on TV.
We first meet 18-year old Fiona as she gets the kids up in the morning and then makes breakfast. She makes sure to pour water into the milk so that it lasts longer and then the she and the rest of the kids pool their money together because the water bill is due at the end of the day. Sixteen year old, Phillip, nicknamed Lip (Jeremy Allen White) tutors after school, 14-year-old Ian works at a convenience store, 10-year-old Debbie (Emma Kenney) steals coupons and pretends to collect money for UNICEF, and 9-year-old Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) steals from the collection plate at St. Timothy’s.
The kids all argue over who has to take baby Liam and Debbie ends up taking him to school for show and tell because he has a birthmark that looks like Lithuania. They all set out for their respective days and there is no presence of a parental figure. Lip tutors a girl in physics who lives with her agoraphobic mom (Joan Cusak) and is turned on by science which is beneficial to Lip to say the least. Fiona works at a hockey stadium and does a good job handling jerks who hit on her. She then goes out for a night of clubbing (with a dress she will return the next day) and meets Steve (Justin Chatwin) who is quite rich and is attracted to Fiona.
He tries to get her purse back after someone steals it and then fights the bouncer. Fiona takes him home and introduces him to her siblings and is interrupted when the cops drop off Frank (William H. Macy) who is drunk and belligerent. It is here where we meet the failed patriarch of this family. Frank used to work at GM and spends his dubious disability checks at the bar and is upset that he is being followed by people who want to see if he is, in fact, disabled. Fiona is reluctant to be with Steve even after he buys her a washing machine because she doesn’t want to be treated like a charity case. Steve then shows Fiona why he is rich and then she’s willing to having a relationship with him.
There are a lot of hilarious moments, but what got me was the amount of heart that is put into this show. Ian tells Fiona that he thinks Frank hates him and Fiona tells him that is only true because he looks the most like his mother, who walked out on them. Lip and Ian have a great moment when Lip discovers that Ian is gay and sleeping with his married boss. This show as I said has so much potential and based on the upcoming episodes I think it will continue to grow and be one of the best shows of the year. Like Frank Gallagher says in the voice over at the beginning of the show “The Gallagher’s may not have much but we know how to f------ party!”
Our last show debuted last night on FX and it took awhile for me to warm up to, but once it ended, I was immediately sold.
“Lights Out”: A Total Knockout!
Even with movies like “Rocky,” “The Fighter,” “Million Dollar Baby” and other boxing movies, it would seem unlikely that a boxing show would be able to cover any new ground. Well, that’s not entirely accurate because FX’s new drama “Lights Out” manages to use all of the standard boxing archetypes and yet tell an interesting story.
The show is run by Warren Leight who was the show runner for season two of “In Treatment.” It’s an odd choice, considering the cerebral nature of “In Treatment” but that idea manages to translate to the boxing genre and manages to take a cue from “The Wire” and basically be devoid of music and that makes the show that much grittier.
The pilot itself took a while to get right and while it doesn’t necessarily show us what the show is about it definitely makes you want to tune in and find out what happens next with Patrick “Lights” Leary.
The show begins with Lights (Holt McCreary) knocked out in the locker room and, at first glance, he appears to be dead. His doctor wife Theresa (Catherine McCormack) wakes him up and Lights is upset that he was essentially robbed out of his championship belt. Theresa wants him to give up fighting because she doesn’t want her or the kids to lose him and Lights reluctantly agrees.
Five years later we see his Connecticut style McMansion and how his career was obviously lucrative. All three of his kids go to an expensive private school and he owns a gym in New Jersey that is failing. His brother Johnny (Pablo Schreiber) and his poor financial sense cause the gym to basically be a money pit and Lights realizes that his money is running out. He hosts bingo and is willing to do endorsements but that doesn’t really cover all of his expenses and Lights gets desperate.
He takes a one-time job as mob enforcer (a la Rocky). Lights struggles to do the right thing and even though he wants to go back into the ring, he knows that would probably end his marriage. Furthermore he also learns he may have the beginnings of Alzheimer’s.
The acting on this show is incredible, Holt plays Lights with the right amount of toughness and decency that when we see the end of the episode (which is one massive “Boardwalk Empire” style cutaway) how vicious he can be when he’s put in a corner. There is a scene when Lights goes to intimidate a guy who is in debt to a mob boss and the guy picks up a bat. Lights doesn’t flinch and tells him in a condescending tone that he admires him for trying to protect his house.
Pablo Schreiber is great as Light’s loser brother and Stacy Keach plays Light’s trainer father. The writing is also well done and a lot of the visuals are reminiscent to “The Sopranos”. I am curious to see where this show goes and you should too. It airs at 10pm eastern on FX.
Thank You for reading and stay tuned as I get into “The Dilemma” with Vince Vaughn.