For the love of…love

Ann and Chris...aww.

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The snow is melting and if we’re lucky it might reach 50 degrees by the end of the week. Love is in the air. And as you know, I love love.

Right now I’m thinking of my favorite TV couples. And I don’t mean characters I would like to see together (there are plenty of those). I mean legitimate couples on TV right now who make me sigh and say “aw.” So here we go with a Valentine’s Day list, dedicated to my own sweetie.

Roses are red. Violets are blue. Here are three TV couples from whom we can all take a cue.

  1. Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) and Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) of Parks and Recreation. She’s a cute nurse and his body is a microchip. What’s not to love here?
  2. Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) and Michael Scott (Steve Carell) from The Office. They are so right for each other that it can be painful to watch.
  3. Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks) of 30 Rock. These two Reaganites are a real power couple. And now they have a Canadian baby. But they promise to treat it as they would a normal human baby.

I just noticed that all of these couples are from NBC. What do you know? It turns out the network that couldn’t make a good sci-fi show to save its life is pretty darn good in the romance department.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Been a long time since I blog and rolled

Let me get back…the months of December and January are pretty slow in the TV world, and pretty busy in the real world. So I’m sorry for the prolonged blog absence. I’m still here, though, with a short post as I get back in the swing of things.

I’ve been watching The Vampire Dairies, 30 Rock, The Office, Big Love, Bone, Fringe and Jersey Shore, all of which have been awesome as usual (more on those later).

I recently added Parks and Recreation after a weekend-long Netflix marathon in which I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt.

Watching this season of Parks and Rec with the eternally good-looking and surprisingly funny Rob Lowe has only confirmed my love for this show. I even have the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness hanging in my cubicle at work. I especially enjoy the blocks for weapons, woodworking and welfare avoidance. My favorite thing about this show is the flawed, yet lovable, Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler. Even when she’s screwing up, she always means well and she legitimately loves the bizarre cross-section of Pawneeans (Or is it Pawneeites?) who turn out for her city forums.

Does anyone else watch Parks and Rec? If not, check it out. Leslie is like a better, more likeable version of Michael Scott. In fact, the show reminds me of early episodes of The Office, when the writing was still fresh and the cast was still fun.

10 girl crushes: My favorite ladies of TV

I just love the wit and wisdom of Dr. Temperance Brennan.

                                                                         

On the way to work this morning, I was thinking about Bones. That got me thinking about Dr. Brennan, and how much I love her character, which got me thinking about some of the other cool ladies on TV right now.

My co-blogger, Mark, has said that we are in a Golden Age of TV. I tend to agree – there are so many good things to watch right now. Part of the appeal of many of the shows I watch is the strong leading lady. It used to be that such strong women on TV were few and far between. Of course, the ‘90s gave us Dana Scully and Buffy Summers, two monoliths of TV womanhood. But to my knowledge there has never been a time when so many women dominated the tube. And the great thing about these leading ladies is that they are such diverse characters – gone are the days of the token strong-willed woman trying to eke out a living among the boys. Here are some ladies of note.

  • Dr. Temperance Brennan (aka Bones, of Bones) – Leader of squints and lover of guns, she’s a highly objective scientist who blows away the stereotype of the overly emotional woman.
  • Annie Walker (of Covert Affairs) – This rookie CIA agent doesn’t need a partner to take down the bad guys in her way. She’s spunky and fresh, not your typical tough girl, and she’s a one-woman wolf pack.
  • Fiona Glenanne (of Burn Notice) – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You build bombs. You rescue boys. You kill bad guys. You have impeccable style. You have such a sharp sense of humor.  And I love the way you say, “Shall we shoot them?”
  • Debra Morgan (of Dexter) – She’s hot mess when it comes to the opposite sex, and she’s got a mouth like a sailor. In seasons past, her vulnerability bordered on annoying, but this year she has really come into her own.
  • Liz Lemon (of 30 Rock) – LL is the funniest woman on TV, simply put. She’s a proud nerd who’s not afraid to admit to wearing a bathing suit as underwear. Need I say more?
  • Margene Heffman, Nicki Grant and Barb Henrickson (of Big Love) – Three very different women (who I am counting as one, polygamist girl crush), married to one man. In four seasons, each has shown strength of character and vulnerability. The complexities of their relationships to one another go beyond the challenges of polygamy, and delve into the differences between each one’s ideas of what it means to be a woman, wife and mother.
  • Caroline Forbes (of Vampire Diaries) – Not the obvious choice from this show (that would be the main star, Elena), but I really like Caroline. And what’s more, I think she’s a good example for young ladies. Last year, she was shallow and mean. But over time, her character grew (and changed into a vampire) into a much deeper person capable of true friendship, love and compassion. This season, she has weathered her change with grace, and even stepped up to the plate to help Tyler handle his own change. She’s a nice example of how a young woman can transcend the cliques, gossip and stereotyping of high school.
  • Olivia Dunham (of Fringe) ­ – Olivia is a smart agent who follows her instincts. She not only solves mysteries in our world, she crosses to other universes as well. She is a fascinating character, capable of great emotional depth as well as detachment.   
  • Myka Bering (of Warehouse 13) – Myka left her gig with the Warehouse at the end of last season following the debacle with H.G. Wells. But if you ask me, the empathy she showed for H.G.’s loss added a new dimension to her previously businesslike demeanor. But don’t get me wrong – I have always appreciated her focus on being the best agent she can be, and putting that before her personal feelings.
  • Pam Swynford De Beaufort (of True Blood) – Again, not the obvious choice, which would be Sookie Stackhouse. However, I just love Pam. Classy and ruthless, she is equally commanding in the pleather Fangtasia costumes as she is in her two-piece pink suits.

Dear Thursday TV,

Elena escaped the clutches of Elijah, but this is just the beginning.

This note is to thank you for an utterly satisfying evening.

First, you served up a fresh episode of The Vampire Diaries on The CW, complete with a brand new villain, Elijah (after all, Katherine needs to cool off in the tomb for at least an episode). Not just any villain, he’s a super sexy, seemingly invincible vampire with a seriously cruel streak. And you gave us a very bittersweet scene between Damon and Elena, a scene that we’ve been waiting for since these two met. Swoon. To top it off, you gave us a blossoming romance between Jeremy and Bonnie as well as a newfound bond between Caroline and Tyler.

Second, you gave us new episodes of 30 Rock and The Office. What can I say? If I had to pick my favorite character on TV, it would be Jack Donaghy. He needs DIHC, and he’ll take it any way he can get it.

Then, you served up one of the best episodes of Fringe to date. Olivia began what promises to be an arduous journey home, with Peter as her spirit guide. Nowhere is the expertise of the show’s writers more evident than in an episode like this – which seamlessly weaves together overarching mythology with a single-episode storyline. In this case, Olivia and the Fringe team investigate someone who broke out of the amber, only to find that twin brothers have pulled the classic switcheroo, thereby leading Olivia to consider the possibility that she has switched places with her doppelganger.

Lastly, you ended the night with a new episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I have yet to watch it, but I know it will be funny, so thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Your ever-devoted, Thursday-night, couch-potato friend, Andrea

TGIT

Jack Donaghy, Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for General Electric.

                          Thank God it’s Thursday. All week long, I keep busy by going to the gym, watching re-runs of NCIS on USA Network, and catching up with Burn Notice on DVD through Netflix. It’s a pretty sweet existence, to be sure, but I’m always waiting. For what, you ask?

Waiting for Thursday at 8 p.m., when The Vampire Diaries starts and a full night of great TV begins. In addition to finding out what’s going on in Mystic Falls, tonight I’ll be tuning in for The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Jersey Shore (no judging).

Fringe, another great Thursday night show, is taking a break for the World Series and won’t be back until next week. If the previews are any indication, the real Olivia might finally escape the alternate reality and face her doppelganger. Wow – just re-reading that sentence makes me feel like I have finally reached the pinnacle of Mount Nerd. Nevertheless, it’s an amazingly good show.

30 Rock is also taking a break tonight, presumably to make time for something NBC calls “Scared Shrekless.” Sounds like a most unworthy replacement to me. Speaking of 30 Rock, could it get any funnier? A week later, and I’m still laughing about Jack’s line, “I have to go tell Rachel Maddow that only one of us can have this haircut.” And the live episode from two weeks ago was pure genius.

Mea culpa and fall TV

Fringe is back for another great season, along with a host of other shows.

It’s been a long time, and I have to apologize for my absence from Remotely Entertaining. With a full lineup of fall TV, a tidal wave of work and more than a few social calls, it’s been tough to find time to write in the last couple weeks. Kudos to my co-blogger, Mark, for keeping things fresh.

Wow! What a fall lineup we have. Here’s what I’m loving:

  • Fringe – Every season seems better than the last. Last week’s premiere delved into Olivia’s predicament on the other side, and set the stage for another very interesting season. In interviews, I’ve heard the show’s writers say that they intend to fully develop the alternate characters, rather than simply setting them up as ne’er do well dopplegangers. Next week, I’m hoping for a good monster of the week, as this show does mythology and one-off episodes equally good.
  • 30 Rock – You’re my pube shirt. Enough said.
  • Boardwalk Empire – We all knew this would be great, and guess what? It is. From the excellent cast (particularly Steve Buscemi) to the directing and writing to the costumes and sets, this show is nothing short of enthralling. It’s no surprise that after one episode, it was picked up for a second season.
  • Dexter – To be sure, it was a depressing first hour of Dexter on Sunday. With Rita gone, Dexter is definitely off his game. Deb is trying to pick up the pieces whilst sleeping with Quinn (who is quite nice, I might add), and the kids are a wreck. From week to week, I can never predict where this show is going, but I’m on the edge of my seat the entire time I’m watching.
  • Vampire Diaries – This show hit the ground running, and the twist of Caroline becoming a vampire is a great one. Also, I love that Damon continues to be a bad guy and I was genuinely shocked when he snapped Jeremy’s neck in episode one. The werewolf element is also promising, and the show has a unique mythology related to its supernatural elements.

Like I said, there’s lot to watch right now. I also have a few new and returning shows that I’m not loving as much, but I’ll save that commentary for another post.

Thursday: Big night in

Thursdays are a big night for TV at the Rogers Residence. Not only do we have The Office and 30 Rock on NBC, but also Fringe on FOX and Vampire Diaries on The CW.

NBC is fresh out of new episodes, but that’s OK because I am really excited for the return of Fringe. I love this show, and I have to thank my co-blogger, Mark, for getting me interested in it. If you have never tuned in, I highly recommend you check it out tonight at 9 p.m. It’s like The X-Files on steroids.

Vampire Diaries is also new tonight, and I can’t wait to find out more about Elena’s birth mother and father (I hope). After last week’s episode, I am wondering if Elena will ever forgive Damon for turning her mother.

What do you watch on Thursdays?

Catching up on The Office, 30 Rock, Parenthood

 I did some catching up last night with my DVR, so you’ll have to forgive me for the delayed reaction to one of the better episodes of The Office in recent memory. Although I love Jim and Pam, it is the awkward, quirky interpersonal relationships that make this show really great. This week’s episode “Happy Hour” got back to basics – Michael making a fool of himself as “Date Mike,” Andy acting like a complete lunatic with Erin, and Dwight in classic form. I mean, who didn’t cheer when Isabel whacked Angela on the forehead. I replayed this scene twice.

We also got a big surprise on 30 Rock with the return of Floyd from Cleveland. I, like LL, was hoping Floyd was back to rekindle their love connection, but alas he has moved on to an exercise instructor. Bummer.  I laughed my butt off about the Silver Panthers and “Twig and Plums,” and Kenneth’s silver NBC hot pants.

That brings me to Parenthood. Honestly, the show is just not that great. But I keep watching it. Why? Because it will always do in a late-night pinch when I’ve watched everything else on my DVR, there’s nothing on HBO, and I haven’t received my Netflix in the mail. Maybe the show is just too vanilla for my taste. It definitely should be on at 8 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.

The missing lost and found and other musings

Creed Bratton

Last night’s episode of The Office essentially revolved around the newfound bravado of the sales staff under Sabre (which I still pronounce Sa-Bray).

One of my favorite characters on this show is Creed. When Michael announced that the lost and found was lost, Creed (wearing what looks to be a pair of Ryan’s hipster glasses) gave a deviant glance that indicated he was the culprit behind the missing lost items. Perhaps he is keeping the lost and found in his desk drawer with those mung beans.

Andy and Erin continued their bizarre courtship, which is almost painful to watch at times. It seems like the writers are setting them up to become the next Jim and Pam, but they are both too awkward to be completely lovable. Speaking of Andy, his clothes become more ridiculous each week – coral Dockers and a yellow sweater vest? He looks like he raided the closet of Long Duk Dong.                                                 

 Also new last night was 30 Rock, a show that usually has me in stitches but last night only evoked a few chuckles. I did love Jack’s comment about Don Geiss’s funeral – an Episcopal cryogenic freezing service open only to Six Sigma Black Belts. Hilarious. “Madder than a bat in a suitcase” will be deposited in my mental bank of idioms. And who didn’t laugh when Wesley said, so non-chalantly, that his last name is Snipes. He does have a point though – it sounds like a middle-aged British guy’s name.

Thursday is a big night for TV, and I am looking forward to new episodes of Vampire Diaries (next week) and Fringe (coming back in April). What are you watching on Thursdays?

On the fence with Parenthood


One of the greatest things about watching TV today is the flexibility – with a DVR you no longer have to worry about being home at exactly the hour your show is set to start. On Tuesday nights, I have been recording the new NBC show, Parenthood, which airs at 10 p.m. DVR is great for a show like this, which I am still on the fence about and not willing to lose sleep over.

I was initially quite skeptical about Parenthood, and I am still not sold on it. However, it has kept my interest the past three weeks. The show has a simple, easy-to-relate to subject matter – crazy family life. And for the most part, it comes across as believable. The interactions between Julia, a corporate attorney juggling her work and home lives, and the all-too-perfect neighbor hitting on her husband, have been priceless. Crosby has also had some funny moments.

They have some great cast members, including Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Craig T. Nelson (Coach), Dax Shepard (Baby Mama), Erika Christensen (Traffic), and Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), who all do a decent job, and the show is executive produced by Ron Howard, who has delivered quality in the past.

Here’s the problem – the show can be boring at times. And there is a cheesy “awww” factor here and there. You know what I mean – moments of family strife and making up that seem to be lifted from the pages of Full House.

So I’d like to know what others think about this show. Are you watching? Will you keep watching?