Reviews for Normal People

Hi. I review things.

READING ABOUT TV: The Five Best Shows on TV — April 18, 2014

READING ABOUT TV: The Five Best Shows on TV

A lot of really good shows have ended recently, including but not limited to How I Met Your Mother, Futurama, Breaking Bad, The Office, and 30 Rock. A lot of people right now are like “What am I to do?” So, here are my picks for the top five best shows on TV.

#5: KEY AND PEELE

No, not KeyCHAIN Peel! Key AND Peele! You miserable fuck.

Key and Peele just kinda showed up one day. I remember watching the first episode for the first time and thinking, “This could be the new Chapelle’s Show.” And  I was right, because Key & Peele is the funniest show on TV right now. It’s weird because, back in their Mad TV days, Keegan and Jordan weren’t that funny. Maybe it’s because they weren’t writing their own stuff. I don’t know. The point is, Keegan and Jordan have become somewhat of a household name because of this sketch show, and it’s pretty clear why.

#4: COMMUNITY

Goddammit

Community’s biggest trademark is its meta humor, often joking about its own chopping block status and low viewership. But that’s not quite what I love about the show. I like when it makes fun of other stuff. I like it when entire episodes are direct parodies of seemingly random movies and shows, including Apollo 13, Die Hard, Se7en, and GI Joe. My favorite example is the paintball episodes, “Modern Warfare,” “A Fistful of Paintballs,” and “For a Few Paintballs More.” As you can imagine, the latter two are a parody of the spaghetti western genre, while the first one parodies a lot of action and apocalypse movie tropes. What “Modern Warfare,” and a few episodes that came out around the same time, did for the show was find a niche, something that Community is good at: full-episode parodies of a specific genre/movie/cartoon. My other favorite episode is “Remedial Chaos Theory,” which brings out another integral part of the Community experience: mind-blowing shit.

#3: GAME OF THRONES

“That’s funny right thurr” -Larry the Cable Guy

Do I hear any counterarguments? No? OK, good. So we’re agreed.

#2: LOUIE

If only

It’s a common saying that Seinfeld is a show about nothing. No, it’s a show about how a comedian gets his material. Now, Louie is a show about nothing. For example, let me tell you the plot of the first episode. Louie volunteers to chaperone at his daughter’s field trip, which goes awry, and then he has an awkward and unsuccessful date with Chelsea Peretti. That’s it. No story, no resolution, no arc, just things happening. So, what makes the show so good? Mainly, it’s Louis CK’s humor, which connects all the vignettes more so than the stories themselves. It’s not just things happening. It’s things happening to Louis CK. And that’s something anyone would want to watch.

Before I unveil my #1 pick, here are some honorable mentions that didn’t make the list for a variety of reasons: The Daily Show, Parks and Recreation, The Colbert Report, South Park, Adventure Time, Arrested Development, House of Cards, Boardwalk Empire, Veep, Saturday Night Live, Sherlock, Doctor Who, True Detective, Cosmos, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Birthday Boys

And the best show on TV right now is…

#1: RICK AND MORTY

NOPE

I’ve already talked about Rick and Morty, but seriously, it’s amazing. It’s got all the good qualities of these four shows, not to mention some cool sci-fi shit and top-notch voice acting. Watch it ASAP.

So, those are the best shows on TV right now. I’ll have a Transcendence review out tomorrow, followed by a Stank-Ass Ranking of Kanye West albums. Like if you like, favorite if you favorite, follow if you follow, and as always…

Liek dis if uc ry everytim.

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Reading About TV: The How I Met Your Mother Finale — April 1, 2014

Reading About TV: The How I Met Your Mother Finale

Haven’t done one of these in a while. But tonight, now that one of TV’s great institutions has finally drawn to a close, it feels fitting to talk about my thoughts on the finale. People on Twitter have called it “disappointing,” “legen-wait for it-dary,” (how original) “wow,” “failed to meet expectations,” “awful,” “loved it,” “great,” “fantastic makeup,” “so emotional,” “terrific,” “the worst episode ever,” and perhaps most commonly, “I’m just going to pretend it was an April Fools’ joke.” So, it’s clear that the reviews are mixed. What did I think of it?

It was OK. IT certainly wasn’t bad, and I don’t think the things I didn’t like are the same things everybody else didn’t like. People seem to be most split on the ending, in which not only is the Mother dead, but the kids convince Ted to start going out with Robin again, ending the series right where it began, only probably with better results. Some say they don’t like that they killed off the title character, who they hadn’t even introduced until this season. Others say they don’t like that after all that shit, Ted and Robin still ended up together. Others say it was a really cool twist that they didn’t see coming. Personally, I disagree with all sides. It was pretty cool of them to kill off the mother, especially since everyone on the internet thought they were going to do it. I like that Ted and Robin wound up together, because of course they did. As you can deduce from those previous sentences, I did see it coming. From a mile away. However, none of my problems or even my comments on the episode had anything to do with the ending.

First major problem: the acting was oddly subpar. Did anyone else notice that? HIMYM isn’t exactly known for the acting prowess of its cast, but they were really off in this episode. In fact, the whole thing was like that. Everything just felt forced. Recurring jokes made a cameo appearances, entire subplots were dropped on the fly, and nothing about it was quite right.

For example, Buzzfeed put out a list a few days ago of questions that needed to be answered in the finale. By my count, 33 of them were not answered by the finale. That means that only 35% of the questions that, according to Buzzfeed, NEEDED to be answered by the finale, were not in fact answered. Everything else about the finale was fine, except for those two major flaws.

Oh, and another thing. It’s never explained why Ted sounds like Bob Saget in the narration. Also, it’s not funny. It just isn’t funny. There were maybe 10 jokes in the entire hour-long episode, and 2 or 3 of them weren’t funny. You can’t have a finale for a sitcom that isn’t funny. That’s part of what was so good about the Office finale. It was emotional and wrapped everything up in a neat little bow, but it also kept things funny and lighthearted.

Overall, I give it a C+. ‘Salright. I’ll review some other stuff pretty soon, including not one, but two movie reviews next week. Like if you like, follow if you follow, favorite if you favorite, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…

Liek dis if u cry everytim.

READING ABOUT TV: The Breaking Bad Finale — October 1, 2013

READING ABOUT TV: The Breaking Bad Finale

Well, Breaking Bad is finally over. Was it the best show ever? No. Was it the best show on TV? Maybe. Was it the best finale of the year? Probably. So, let’s talk about it. First, I want to clarify something. I do like Breaking Bad. I really do. I just don’t think it’s the best show ever, as many people, including Kumail Nanjiani, do. In fact, I get frustrated when people say this, especially a professional comedian like Kumail Nanjiani. It’s just too grim and humorless. When I want to watch Breaking Bad, I’ll watch Breaking Bad, but when I’m just watching TV and not looking to watch any program in particular, I probably wouldn’t choose Breaking Bad. In all honesty, I personally think Doctor Who, for example, is a better show than Breaking Bad. First of all, it has the same level of artistic integrity as Bad, but second of all, it’s funny and lighthearted. And Doctor Who isn’t my favorite show, either!

All that being said, the Breaking Bad finale was Breaking GREAT. Of the five series finales I’ve seen this year, this one was almost definitely the best. The Office is a very close second, but this is the best. And I realized why I like it so much. IT WAS A HAPPY ENDING. On a show like Breaking Bad, you expect the ending to be something along the lines of Walter dying in prison, sad and alone. And I am so glad that they didn’t do that. Everything worked out for everybody. Flynn got the money, Jesse got his freedom (and killed Todd!), and Walter died a happy man. It pretty much embodied everything I liked about Breaking Bad. It had Walter killing people by doing science, it had happy moments and sad moments, it had the death of Todd, it even had my favorite part of the entire show: BADGER AND SKINNY PETE. I’m not even exaggerating. Badger (Matt L. Jones) is my favorite character in the entire Breaking Bad universe.

But I did have a few complaints. First of all, I don’t know how they came to the decision to do this ending. Vince Gilligan claims that he wanted to make the happiest ending he could considering the circumstances, but then why did they kill Hank and Gomez literally TWO EPISODES AGO and literally make things as bad as possible up until this episode? Did the idea of having a happy ending come about after these other episodes were written? Were they punking us? Did they decide to have things go like things usually go on Breaking Bad and then just suddenly get happy in the last half of the last episode? And what happened to Badger and Skinny Pete? They showed up for like two minutes, but nothing was really resolved. Did they get off the meth after Walt stopped making it? What did Badger do with the Star Trek script? Did it have any symbolic meaning? I can’t find any. Also, it’s not true that Walt did it for himself. Maybe he kept doing it for himself, but at first, he was most certainly doing it for his family.

Overall, this episode was great. I give it an A. I may or may not be making a Break It Down about Breaking Bad, but what I know for sure is that I will be reviewing Cloudy 2 next week. Also, Scream. Don’t ask me why. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or submissions, put them in the comments section below and/or e-mail them to me at thatnaivecube@gmail.com.

End transmission.

READING ABOUT TV: The Futurama Finale — September 8, 2013

READING ABOUT TV: The Futurama Finale

Well, Futurama‘s finally over. After 14 years of cancellations and revivals, it has finally met an end. The show’s other two endings, “The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings” and “Into the Wild Green Yonder,” were fantastic episodes, and in my opinion, among the best. So, with the show meeting what will likely be its end, there was one question on everyone’s mind: will the finale be any good? Some people were worried that expectations for the episode were too high, and that it could never live up to them. Their fears were escalated when it was announced that the show would be crossing over with The Simpsons next year, meaning that no one would leave or die in the finale, something you wouldn’t expect from Futurama. So, how did the episode turn out?

Perfectly. I mean it. I can not imagine how this episode could have been better. Well, I probably could. I would’ve enjoyed it if Bender found out that Hermes created him, and it would’ve been cool if we got to see Amy and Kif’s kids somehow, maybe in an epilogue. I still loved the episode, though. It had that perfect blend of everything that made Futurama so good. It had great comedy, good drama, good action, good sci-fi, a darkly funny plot that makes you think. It really was a near-perfect episode. And that’s why I give the Futurama finale an A+. A lot of my favorite shows have ended or will be ending this year, but so far, this may be the best I’ve seen of the finales. It truly embodies everything that makes the show good.

I’m sorry this review took so long and was so short. I’ll get to work on my favorite episodes ranking right away. I’ll also be reviewing The Family next week. After that, I’ll try to think of a couple articles to put out before the Cloudy 2 review at the end of the month. Until then…

End transmission.

READING ABOUT TV: Why Sam & Cat is Total Bullshit — August 21, 2013

READING ABOUT TV: Why Sam & Cat is Total Bullshit

Now, I loved iCarly. And VicTORIous. They were both really funny shows that weren’t condescending to kids. Now, these shows were both by Dan Schneider, the man behind Drake and Josh, Zoey 101, All That, Kenan and Kel, and The Amanda Show.BUUUUUUUT he’s also the man behind Good Burger, What I Like About You, Guys Like Us, and The Amanda Show, which fits into both categories.
Anyway, about two years ago, iCarly and VicTORIous crossed over, in “iParty with Victorious,” one of the worst-titled things ever. This made it clear that these two shows exist in the same universe, and it eventually became clear that Drake and Josh andZoey 101 take place in this very same universe. The characters in the two shows had a lot of chemistry, so when both shows came to an end, Schneider decided to make a crossover show featuring the most annoying characters from both shows.
Enter Sam and Cat. The show follows a tough, intimidating young adult woman and a sweet, naïve young adult woman. Yes, since they’ve both graduated high school, the show is about two adult women and is geared toward children under 13. This was clearly not thought out very well. In the show, the mildly annoying Sam and teeth-grindingly annoying Cat run a babysitting service, with a couple other random characters who are very loosely involved with the main characters also appearing in every episode to help them with their shenanigans.
This show is terrible. Actually, let me rephrase that. It’s bad. I don’t want to say it’s terrible, because compared to almost every other kids show on the air right now, it’sArrested Development. But by itself, it’s bad. I actually watched the most recent episode, “#ToddlerClimbing,” (yes, all of the episode titles are hashtags. Toldja it was terrible) and kept track of every laugh track in the episode and everything that actually made me laugh even the teeniest bit on the inside. In the end, the laugh track was used 184 times and only 69 jokes were even the tiniest bit funny. That comes out to 115 unfunny jokes, or 62.5%.
But let’s look at everything that’s bad about it.
1. The hashtag thing
2. Use of memes in a desperate attempt to convince kids that the Nickelodeon execs are aware of them
3. Unfunny jokes
4. CONSTANT LAUGH TRACK EVERY SINGLE SECOND. That episode was 21 minutes long and had 184 laugh tracks, averaging one every 7 seconds. THAT’S INSANE. To put that into perspective, there was about one joke every 18 seconds inAirplane!, with 251 jokes in total.
5. Cat is the most annoying thing to ever exist in reality or fiction
6. Cat is far too stupid to exist
7. Constant references to their previous shows, negative 10% of which are funny or necessary
8. Taking all of the most tired cliches, all of the worst in-jokes and jokes in general, basically everything that was bad about iCarly and VicTORIous and making that a show
And THAT is why Sam and Cat is total bullshit. Incidentally, I had an idea for an episode of Sam and Cat, and an episode of the upcoming show Gibby, another iCarlyspinoff, that would lead in to an iCarly reunion special. The Gibby episode would involve Gibby preparing for the iCarly reunion. The Sam and Cat episode would be Sam going back to Seattle for the reunion, leaving Cat to babysit all by herself. These episodes would both come out towards the end of this year. When Sam tells Cat that she’s going to Seattle, Drake Bell is there for whatever reason. Maybe they’re at a food place and he works there, I dunno. Anyway, when she tells her, Drake says, “A reunion? The show ended like a year ago!” Priceless.
I will have a review or two out this week, followed by another review or two next week, and so on. I’ll think of other things to write about, too.
Story is end!