Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5 Reasons Why I Have Hope for Glee's Third Season (and 5 More Reasons Why That Hope is Probably False)

 Oh Glee. It truly is the show that I just haven't been able to quit. I both hate to love it and love to hate it. Like many of Glee's viewers, I was hooked by its initial greatness (the first half of season one or debatably the majority of season one) and that hook has dragged me along through some of its not-so-greatness (most of season two). Well, you can call me crazy, but I actually have some hope for season three. There are several reasons why I've developed this hope for season three, but as per norm with my Gleepinions, these opinions are going to be mixed. That means for each reason that gives me hope, I'm going to have a corresponding reason why I'm keeping that hope low.

1) More Writers

           Why I'm Hopeful: 
   When watching The Hollywood Reporter's Emmy Roundtable of Comedy Actresses I was surprised to hear Lea Michelle reveal that Glee was being written by only three writers, all of them male. Although I was surprised, this perhaps lends some insight into why Glee's writing is so shoddy. However, there's recently been an announcement that Glee's more than doubled their writing staff by adding six new writers for the new season. Hopefully, this increase in writers will allow them to think through their storylines more carefully and have some consistency. As a further bonus, one of these new writers is Marti Noxon of Buffy fame who wrote excellent episodes like "Surprise," "The Wish," and "The Prom."

           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   Even with only three of them, the writers of Glee seem to be horribly out of sync. Most of the characters are ridiculously inconsistent, and I suspect that part of the reason for that is the different writers feel differently about the characters. If three writers couldn't create consistent characters together, who's to say that nine writers will be able to write harmoniously. As for Marti Noxon, well, she wrote the "Bad Eggs" episode of Buffy. Enough said.

2) Actual Story Arcs 

           Why I'm Hopeful: 
   Among the many things that have been said about the new season is the statement that Glee will feature more story arcs next year.  The Hollywood Reporter reports that Ryan Murphy stated, 
"Last year you had the baby story line that everyone could follow and this year we didn’t do that." "Next year we’re going to be doing that more. What I have learned from this season is I think people want story arcs,” he said. 
I think most of us can agree that story arcs are an important element of most shows. They give us something in which to become invested and help to keep the viewers' interest. In the past, Glee has had a bad habit of pressing the reset button after many of their episodes, resulting in us getting the same storylines ad nauseam. Story arcs could be a good fix to this problem, would actually allow for plot development, and might even give us some character development.
           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   Honestly, for a show like Glee, story arcs should be enough of a no-brainer that there's no question of including them. Furthermore, the fact that Murphy cites "the baby story line" as an example of a successful one is cause for alarm. For the most part, the baby story line was a drawn-out, confusing, soap-operaish hot mess. From what I've heard of the planned story arcs for season three, I'm not sure that they're going to be much better. I mean, Sue running for Congress may be a new development, but at best, it's extremely questionable.

3) No Guest Stars

           Why I'm Hopeful: 
   Throughout the first and second seasons of Glee, viewers were exposed to a plethora of guest stars. Admittedly, some of these guest stars (Josh Groban, for example) were excellently incorporated. However, many of them were just distracting and took even more screen time away from some of the lesser featured cast members. In fact, I think Gwyneth Paltrow's character Holly Holiday has had more solo numbers than Tina, one of the original New Directions members. However, according to TVLine, Ryan Murphy has said of season three, "We’re not going to have any guest stars." A lack of guest stars could be a huge improvement for Glee and give them more screen time for neglected characters.

           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   There's a good chance that this statement is simply not true. Reportedly, Idina Menzel is already signed on to return. Perhaps Murphy was just referring to new guest stars, and since her role is big-ish, the term "guest star" is debatable. Still, it's hard to believe that he'll stick to his statement.

4) Damian May Appear 

           Why I'm Hopeful: 
   As I wrote in my post about The Glee Project, Damian is by far my favorite contestant. I'd be excited to hear his adorable accent on Glee. Due to a lack of acting challenges on The Glee Project, it's quite possible that he has about as much acting ability as Tommy Wiseau. Still, I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I'd be excited to see what character Glee came up with for him.

           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   There's only a one-in-six chance that Damian will be the winner of The Glee Project. That's a five-in-six chance that this hope is false. Plus, according to its Wikipedia page, Damian has been in the bottom three twice and has been at "low" risk two weeks as well.

5) Samcedes 

           Why I'm I Was Hopeful: 
   When writing my thoughts on the season two finale, I mentioned that I was intrigued by the idea of Sam and Mercedes as a couple. It was a somewhat unexpected pairing, and I was curious to see where they were going to take it. If nothing else, it was a way to give Mercedes a story line that didn't involve tater tots or being an over-the-top, ridiculous diva. Plus, it seemed that they were keeping their relationship a secret, and there was a chance for an interesting plot concerning the reason for that secrecy.

           Why That Hope is Probably False: 
   It's been reported that Chord Overstreet, the actor who plays Sam, will not be returning to Glee this season. So, unless Glee decides to delve into the supernatural and incorporate body swapping into their show, it appears that this pairing is officially dead.

With that, I end my ranty list of my feelings about the upcoming season. Whether you agree with the part of me that enjoys Glee or the part that loves to hate on it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the upcoming third season in the comments section.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cream of the Crop: Happy Endings

With each new television season, there's a giant new crop of television shows. Some of them are rotten, others are just okay, but a few shine as the cream of the crop. In this series of posts, I'm going to share with you the three new shows from the last year that I've watched and enjoyed. I know there are several more shows that were well received and that I would likely enjoy (The Walking Dead, for example), but I've not seen every show from this past season. Now that you've been introduced to the concept of these posts, let's get on with the first installment.

                                                                   Photo Credit: ABC/CRAIG SJODIN

The first show I'm going to feature is Happy Endings. If you haven't watched this show, you might be a bit surprised that I'm including it in this series. Trust me, I'm probably as surprised as you. There are multiple things that initially turned me off to this half-hour comedy. First of all, Casey Wilson stars as one of the main characters. I was never a fan of hers on Saturday Night Live, and I was worried that would ruin my enjoyment of this show. Secondly, this show's setup was far from original. A gaggle of "group of friends" shows popped up last season like Traffic Light, Mad Love, and Perfect Couples. Finally, the pilot sucked. Despite my reservations, I watched the first episode within days of its airing, and I was completely turned off to the rest of the series.

With all of these things working against it, you may wonder how Happy Endings has made its way into my favor. As to my first complaint, I've found that I shouldn't have judged Casey Wilson by her performance on one show. She's really found her niche in Happy Endings, and as strange as it feels to say this, her character is one of my favorites. My second issue with the show didn't turn out to be much of an issue. While the show's setup may be somewhat unoriginal, their storylines are normally pretty fresh and funny. And lastly, well, I shouldn't have judged Happy Endings by its pilot. Hearing some positive buzz about the show and seeing some clips from subsequent episodes thankfully convinced me to give it another shot.

 For those of you who've never seen or maybe even heard of Happy Endings, I'll give you a brief overview of the show. It centers around a group of six friends. Two of the friends, Alex and Dave, were on the verge of getting married when Alex pulls a runaway bride and leaves Dave at the altar. This show mostly consists of the aftermath and its result on the group dynamic. While several of the storylines do revolve around the resulting awkwardness, this mostly just gives the show a framework with which to play.

Now, even after getting caught up on all the episodes, I still find myself sometimes watching a summer rerun of Happy Endings if I catch it on television. It's not a hundred percent perfect show, but I realized that I'd become considerably attached to it when I felt relief at hearing the news that Happy Endings was being renewed for a second season. The cast is pretty likeable, the storylines are fun, and the show is usually pretty funny. That's plenty of reasons for me to enjoy Happy Endings, and if those reasons are enough for you, you can catch reruns Wednesdays on ABC at 8:30pm (CST). Alternatively, episodes two through seven are currently available to watch on Hulu. The new season will premiere Wednesday, September 28, 2011 in its current time slot.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Link Roundup: Volume 6

Are any fans of Modern Family reading this? Word is that they're looking to recast Jaden and Ella Hiller's role as Lily in favor of a child who'll be more lively on camera.

You think you're being sneaky by fast forwarding through commercials?    Reruns of How I Met Your Mother are using a method of advertising that brings product placement to a whole new level.
(Note: These are two separate links with different examples.)

If you're amazed, intrigued, or made fearful of the future by the last links, click here for a demo reel highlighting other potential examples of this advertising technology.

SPOILER ALERT for all Big Brother US fans. There's been a change in the house. Click here to find out more.

I don't know why, but I'm addicted to this type of thing. I've clicked through an alarming amount of pages on I Spy a Famous Face and Kidcasting (although the second hasn't been updated since March).

Urgent News For Horrible People Like Me That Like to Laugh at Young Children

Okay, so maybe urgent is a bit dramatic of a term to use in such a circumstance. However, what I have to say concerns something that will be airing on television today. You might be able to catch a rerun somewhere, but I'm not sure where that would be. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Like I said, this recommendation is only for those who enjoy laughing at kids making fools of themselves. If you do not enjoy doing so, do not read this. I feel like you will think much less of me.

That being clarified, I'm talking about kid's week on Jeopardy. Unfortunately, I missed the first two days of this glorious edition of Jeopardy, but the two days I've watched have invoked much laughter. A good bit laughter simply stems from laughing at the dumb answers that the kids provide. And of course, the personal stories segment is also fun. The true gem of this show, however, was a young boy named Neil.

Neil was so stuck by nerves that he made multiple mistakes like forgetting to chose from the board when it was his turn and stuttered quite a bit throughout the show. Much of the game, his score remained firmly in the red. By the end of the show, however, I couldn't help but root for this little kid who probably is fairly accurate representation of how I would act if I were ever to appear on Jeopardy.  Poor Neil didn't manage to win, but he pulled through in the last couple of questions and ended up in second place.

Unfortunately, I don't believe that Neil will be appearing today. However, if you tune in, you'll most likely be greeted with a new batch of awkward kids. I know I'll be recording it.

Also, if you're questioning the strangeness of this post, consider that I wrote it at 3:30 in the morning.

The Glee Project: Glee Has Found a Way to Haunt Us Year-Round

In general, television kind of sucks during the summer (except for the gloriously trashy Big Brother, of course). So, I've been watching The Glee Project. Judge me if you will, but it's actually pretty entertaining. Think about it. The show involves taking a bunch of dramatic theater-type kids, most of whom consider themselves special snowflakes, competing against each other while kissing Glee's butt. How could that not be entertaining?

Plus, the show itself is such a hot mess that you can have the added entertainment of mocking it while watching it. If you haven't seen The Glee Project, it's a competition for a role in Glee. Each episode is focused around themes like Individuality, Theatricality, and Vulnerability. The contestants then perform songs that relate to these themes. So while the contestants have learned to embrace their special snowflakeness, be dramatic, and cry about their feelings, they've yet to actually do any acting outside of music videos. And honestly, isn't that what counts? I mean, it's nice if the winner can sing, but we all know that they autotune their voices anyway. However, my favorite actually does have a nice voice.

So, who is my favorite, you might ask? The utterly adorable and Irish (I think) Damian. Perhaps it's a bit strange to describe someone who can't be much more than a year younger than me as adorable, but I stand by the description. Anyway, his accent definitely endeared him to me from the start, but he truly won me over with his performance of Jessie's Girl. Unfamiliar with the song, Damian sang "I wish that I was Jessie's girl" rather than "I wish that I had Jessie's girl." It was a truly inspired rendition.

Okay, I know this post is kind of all over the place, but honestly, so is my mind right now. Anyway, to make a long story short: if you want a laugh and something to mock or enjoy adorable Irish accents, you might try watching The Glee Project.

Have you been watching The Glee Project? I'd love to hear what you think about it in the comments.