Willingly Bilked

When I was the mere wisp of boy, one of the chasms of TV time was Sunday morning. I was a good catholic boy. 1993 Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral Altar Boy of the Year. The pre-church festivity was an ordeal with my dearest mother putting on her fashion show of hats and heels as the Cathedral aisles were her own Bryant Park Fashion week runway. So there was a good window of chillin’ before actually going off to save my soul on a weekly basis. Sunday morning was a tough television landscape. Infomercials, political roundtables, live auto racing from Europe all had me just flipping – or forcing me to read. Continue reading

Remember When?: Growing Up on Playing House

WARNING: If this opening sequence makes you cringe, if it’s too sweet for you, you should probably stop reading now.

Playing House (one of USA Network’s surprisingly great shows, along with this summer’s breakout, Mr. Robot) is in its second season and stars Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair (both of whom you may have seen recently on Review) as two long-time best friends. St. Clair plays Emma, who left her childhood hometown of Pinebrook for China to become a super successful business-woman. Maggie, played by Parham, stuck around Pinebrook her whole adult life, got married and got pregnant. Maggie lives in her childhood home, too, the one she inherited after her parents died. The little playhouse is still in the backyard, now infested with a family of deranged raccoons – things are the same, with an added air of anxiety. When Emma returns to Pinebrook, she finds Maggie distraught. Maggie’s bumbling husband has been cheating on her with a woman online. And so, with Emma’s help, Maggie drums up enough courage to leave her husband. Emma then quits her job overseas, move back to Pinebrook and moves in with Maggie to help her through the pregnancy and, once the baby is born, raise the child with her. The world hasn’t changed so much in Pinebrook in the time Emma was gone but the clock kept ticking.

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Email Roundtable #51: TV in Fits and Spurts, or what we watch when we are busy

Kerri and Jane attempt to discuss how they fill their down-time during busy times.

Jane: So, full disclosure, Kerri and I are both fully immersed and crazily busy with the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Obviously, we still have time for TV; meaning we have some things to say this week. We’ve discovered that both of us turn to cooking shows during those hectic, busy days when we have a bit of time to ourselves. Kerri, why are cooking shows so important to your down-time and what are the favourites that you rely on? Continue reading

A Great Little “Catastrophe”: Channel 4’s charming show about life’s best mistakes

“Fully Formed Human Beings”. That’s what my co-worker Sandra calls them. You might know them better as adults. Those people who have lived long enough to know that they really don’t know anything and ask the right questions and probably worked a shitty job dealing with the public at some point in their lives. People who know when they are feeling like crap and why they are feeling like crap (probably because they haven’t eaten) and when they are happy and why they are happy (probably because they have eaten). When I was a kid adults always seemed like they had a script and knew exactly the right lines to say at all times. But, of course, they didn’t. They were messing up just like I was. Because, really, when can we say we are fully formed? When can we say we’ve stopped growing and changing and learning and fucking up? Sometimes it feels like adulthood is just a series of awful mistakes. Continue reading

Dropped The Ball

ballers-hbo-new-trailer

When word came that Ballers was coming to HBO, I was pretty damn stoked. Game of Thrones isn’t for me. It’s about wizards, right? – Just not my bag. The Newsroom was so ham-handed that I lost interest. Those other HBO offerings never got me excited, But Ballers! I mean – its Ballers! Let’s throw together things I really like and produce it slickly. Good job, HBO. Continue reading

TV’s Greatest Dumpster Fires

I find myself way outside of the mainstream in my current televisions gorging. I’m on the Mad Men express but we’ve tackled that pretty thoroughly. Other than that I don’t watch any of the endless bounty of the high brow televisions. I do love delving deep in my cable package for the awesome and awful. Shows I watch not because they are all that good – but because they strike my particular fancy. They may even be terrible. I find such shows like these odd TV rubix cubes. I can’t figure them out – they are frustrating, yet I find myself coming back. One such show was cancelled. The bastards who took it away from me shall be on my enemies list along with the girl who “tried” to “teach” me improv in Grade 11. Or for our American readers, 11th grade. The show is Texas Hardtails, on The Speed Channel. Continue reading