12 January 2011

Don't Tell Your Parents

Now M and I feel bad about abandoning our loyal TV viewers for so long. So in case this lapse in guidance occurs again, there is another website you should follow as well to get advice on what shows you should be watching.

Yes, the Parents Television Council. This “non-partisan education advocating responsibility” group gives excellent advice on what shows to watch. Well, what shows you shouldn’t watch actually. But that’s the beauty of the site. The site uses a traffic light to grade each show. “Red Light” means the show is inacceptable (How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, 90210, Chuck, Cougar Town, Medium [but I am guessing this judgment was made after watching the gal this show is based on appear on the Real Housewives of Beverley Hills]), “Yellow Light” means the show MAY be inappropriate (America’s Funniest Home Videos, Biggest Loser, 30 Rock , The Office) and lastly “Green Light” for family-friendly shows with traditional values (Undercover Brother, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition).

We here at TV Stalker recommend checking out the PTC’s weekly roundup site to help you plan your week accordingly. We recommend picking mostly Red Light shows with some Yellow Light shows sprinkled in (I mean Modern Family and the entire NBC comedy lineup are Yellow shows). But you can avoid all Green Light shows, unless of course Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is doing one of those episodes where they surprise the family by bringing home a soldier deployed overseas. Those get me every time.

Also, at the end of each week the PTC names the best and worst shows of the week. Found here. A few things. 1. I wish the PTC released this ranking at the beginning of the week so I could be sure to catch an especially inappropriate episode of Secret Life of an American Teenager. 2. How do I get the job of deciding the worst show of the week? I mean really, do you think the gang at the PTC draw straws to see who has to watch Gossip Girl that week? 3. How close of a match is this list to our recommendations? Cougar Town has been named the Worst Show of the Week twice. TWICE. We can’t recommend it more. GREAT show.

Lastly, here are a few highlights from the PTC’s reviews of some of our favorite shows:

90210: : “…the program’s current content is enough to cause one to exclaim: come on!” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Having episodes titled “Charlie Wants an Abortion,” “Charlie Got Molested,” “Mac Bangs Dennis’ Mom,” “Mac’s Banging The Waitress,” and “Who Pooped The Bed?” will get you a Red Light rating.

Bachelor: M really should have consulted the PTC before blogging about this Red Light Show. It contains “a lot of kissing…also a fair amount of innuendo”

Bachelor Pad: For "using the technique of “franken-biting” to artificially enhance the sexual content in an episode when there was none.” Now this is a serious problem. When sexual content is advertised, I tune in. So don’t tease us, ABC.

Sons of Anarchy: PTC does not like “it’s unparalleled and gruesome violence and its glorification of murderous, drug-dealing hoods”. Yup, the show is that good.

The Real World: “PTC's new study of MTV original programming that revealed expletive-laden programming—both partially-bleeped and non-bleeped obscenities—occurring approximately once every three minutes with no language warnings to parents.” I am totally watching this next season with a stopwatch.

Walking Dead: “Once viewers simply had to avoid a couple movies playing at the multiplex, today they are being forced to pay for explicit depictions of blood, rotting flesh, and dangling viscera.” Forced? Really?

Jersey Shore: “another idiotic piece of MTV reality trash, with twentysomethings drinking, hooking up, drinking, fighting, drinking, vomiting, and drinking some more. How anyone could possibly find this program entertaining is baffling.” After a review like that, how could you not watch?

Thank you, Parental Television Council. Thanks to you, I’ll never miss a minute of quality television.

11 January 2011

Do you prefer Starbucks or The Coffee Bean?

What's this, a new post on everyone's favorite blog? Yup. 2011 is the year that TV Stalker makes its comeback, just like Jennifer Grey on Dancing with the Stars (a show which, despite numerous attempts, I've have still never watched an entire episode of). 

Let's kick off the new year with a show I swore I was through with....The Bachelor. I'm a pretty fairweather Bachelor/ette fan, but when I heard that there was an apartment of dudes down the street who were hosting viewing parties, my curiosity got the best of me.

First thing's first: woo woo for Michelle from SLC! Utah LOVES it when a local makes it on to a national show, even if they are ridiculous and an embarrassment to the state. We. Love. It. Case in point: on the local 10:00 news after The Bachelor, the big story was entitled "Utah's Bachelorette Opens Up." My bet is that we will have almost identical stories every week until she is off that show.
(this is Michelle's jazz-hand version of "fireworks." Obvi.)

On to the episode---I'd just like to point out how silly these dates are.

1. Carnival in the woods. Creepy, right? And also seriously deficient in the carnie/people watching department, which everyone knows is the real fun of carnivals. And also, when they were having a little heart to heart, I couldn't help but notice the giant sign that advertised "midget horses" right behind the lovers....nothing says romance like an animal freak show.
2. Biggest group date ever. I am still confused as to whether they were shooting a PSA or a really low budget porno. And making one girl dress up butch with a neck brace....and then sending her home?? AWFUL. Probably one of the meanest tv moves I've seen.
3. Spa/Train Date.  Did Brad have to get licensed before he could apply that mud mask? And shopping through racks of hand-me-down pageant gowns and getting primped doesn't really count as "date" time....they spent like 20 minutes together over the course of 3 hours. And for the record...Brad isn't really responsible for ANY of this, so quit pretending like he's the one who bought the dresses, planned the night, or made arrangement's with Train's tour manager. (Train?? wtf.)

Some final notes:
  • I am sad that I have to go to the website now to find out everyone's ages. Everyone knows I'm obsessed with people being younger than me...
  • Prediction: Cute-as-a-button Emily isn't going to win, but she will be next season's Bachelorette. Mark my words.
  • Is there a pay pal account where I can send in some money to help pay for poor Keltie the Rockette to get some therapy? Listening to her sob her way off the show about how she'll always be alone was bumming me out.
  • Melissa was my favorite this episode. No undereye concealer, an ill-fitting strapless dress, the arguing skills of a 12 year old...and she kept talking about the career she gave up to be on the show. A career as a waitress. 
  • ...and also, Melissa is a dead ringer for Petrie from A Land Before Time. 

09 June 2010

Party Like It's 1999

I am a proud member of the MTV generation, and I always look forward to MTV's two big award nights: The MTV Movie Awards and the Video Music Awards. The Movie Awards are typically less scandalous, but they are always full of celebrities and interesting moments to discuss around the water cooler on Monday morning. (That phrase is just a metaphor, right? Does anyone actually have water cooler discussions?)

I'm hesitant to discuss the awards, because for the first time in my entire life, I felt like I didn't "get" MTV. Is this what the kids are really into? If I were a social anthropologist watching a recording of the awards show at some point in the future, I would think that the youth of America in 2010 cared about two things only: f-bombs and Twilight. Not that I'm offended by swearing, but it seemed so forced and ridiculous. It reminded me of Meggan circa middle school, who felt it necessary to swear in front of her friends just to let them know how cool and grown up she was. (Ironically, now I swear so people think I'm young and hip). But all that swearing with a young Jaden Smith was in the audience? Marky Mark should be ashamed.

I'm not even going to discuss Twilight because I know that I'm in the minority for not being obsessed with it. So I'll defer to bff Alan, with whom I discussed this with via gchat:

But honestly....those kids were everywhere-- presenting, winning, being featured in candid crowd shots. All I'm saying is I could have done with a little less Kristen Stewart (could she be more awkward) and a bit more Justin Bieber.

Speaking of featured celebrities--  I feel like MTV was trying to stage a comeback for anyone who was at their peak in the mid to late nineties. Tom Cruise hasn't been cool since Top Gun. He was mildly entertaining when he put on a fat suit and danced to hip hop, but that character was from Tropic Thunder, which came out two years ago. Couldn't we have found something more current? I know J Lo has been trying to come back, but I do believe that her career high point was Waiting for Tonight, which was released in 1999.
Sandra Bullock won the MTV Generation Award, and even though she looked the bomb and we're all Team Sandy these days....she really was at her prime around the Speed (1994)/While You Were Sleeping(1995) era? I mean....I owned both of those on vhs, if that says anything. Yes she won an Oscar this year...but since when has MTV cared about that? And then there was Christina Aguilera. "Xtina," as she is apparently still calling herself. Homegirl is a 30 year old wife and mother these days....way too old to be dancing around with a light up heart on her crotch and the words "woohoo" on the screen (although I'd love to get my hands on a woohoo graphic for my living room). Let's leave these sort of performances to Gaga, shall we?
Sidenote1: Don't google the lyrics to the song Woohoo. 
Sidenote2: Yes I am aware of my double standard. Britney could do the same thing and I'd be cheering her on from the front row. But I also cheered her on during this.

Anyway, apparently the 90s are back.

So They Think They Can Dance

There are a lot of things happening with this show that I really like. Like Mary Murphy's absence. And bringing back a few all-stars as partners. And the chance that it gives me to check in on Wade Robson, who I have been a fan of since his days collaborating with my girl B Spears.

But I have the same beef with SYTYCD that I do with *ahem* other reality competition shows (I promised to never mention that show on my blog. See sidebar bio for details). I hate the "tryouts" portion of these shows. Sure, I'd like to see how all of the finalists got on the show, but I can't stand the bad auditions. I feel like it's just three weeks of the show getting cheap laughs at the expense of these people who have waited for hours just to be able to try out. It's like those awful stand up comedians that can only get laughs when they insult different audience members. I also find it a little ironic that Fox capitalizes off of these people who are a little different, and then goes and champions the slushie-victim oddball on Tuesday nights. So apparently it's only ok to be an outcast if you're really talented.

*steps off soapbox*

Also, can we get some better reality show producers on this show? Don't give me an elaborate backstory on a girl, show her tryout, and then have Nigel say "That was lovely. Are your parents dancers?" "No, my dad is in jail for being in the mob." "Say whaaaaaaaaat?"

That having been said, I really do enjoy this show once it gets to competition time. Which, thankfully, is next week! Set your dvr so you can instant-replay the performances and fast forward through the judges' comments.


There is a new favorite song in my home, and it all comes courtesy of one of the best shows on tv: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

I know what you're thinking. A lot of us, myself included, saw the first episode or two of Jimmy Fallon and were less than impressed. But trust me when I tell you to give it another chance. Just watch the clip above: The audience is in Yacht Rock apparel. The Roots are in Yacht Rock apparel....and playing WITH Robbie Dupree. There is a strategically placed awesome dancer right behind Sir Dupree. AND JIMMY'S SINGING BACKUP.

Jimmy is one of the rare people who I feel like absolutely loves his job. He talks to every guest like they're bff. And the skits. Oh, the skits! One of my favorites is Slow Jam the News (and not just because it features frequent appearances by my other NBC crush, Brian Williams):

Other excellent skits:
Head Swap
6-bee (Glee parody)
Thank You Notes (Friday tradition)

As you all know, I watch a lot of tv. Which means you'll appreciate the magnitude of what I'm about to say:

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is on my list of top 5 tv shows. 

And there you have it.

07 June 2010

Monday Night Strike

I can't do it. I have some pretty low standards when it comes to tv, and my mind can not handle this Bachelorette business. So we're breaking up. Excuse me while I go to the waterfront and look pensively into the distance...

24 May 2010

Summer Shows

May is a very sad time for a TV connoisseur such as myself, for it marks the end of regular-season programming. However, along with the summer comes a number of gems that I feel are worth getting excited for. Premium cable tends to thrive in the summer, offering a number of smart, clever shows to watch when I'm not sitting by the pool.

United States of Tara now airing Multiple personalities have never been so entertaining. Toni Collette is crazy versatile as she jumps from alter ego to alter ego, and Aiden from SATC plays....well, pretty much the same manly and supportive significant other that he did the last time we saw him on tv.
Nurse Jackie now airing She's a nurse, she has an adulterous affair with her pharmacist to fuel her pill popping....what's not to love?
Party Down now airing I was recently introduced to this show in between seasons 1 and 2, and I was a tad bit shocked that it managed to slip under my radar for even that long (I blame it on the fact that it airs on Starz). If you enjoyed Veronica Mars, you'll love seeing all of your old friends reappear. (If you didn't love Veronica Mars, then please add seasons 1-3 to your Netflix que immediately, because you've really been missing out.) Anyway, Party Down is about a bunch of sarcastic cater waiters. And it is LOL-by-yourself funny.
True Blood June 13 I don't watch this show, because I blatantly avoid anything that is fantasy/aka vampire related. However, I realize I am in the minority (just like I am with this whole Twilight business), so I wanted to be fair and give my readers a heads up. 
Entourage June 27 Vince and the boys were doing a-ok last season (finally, E and Sloane!), which can only mean that there are sure to be big problems in season 7. I just hope Jeremy Piven can stay away from sushi and soy milk during filming...
Mad Men July 25 I adore Betty and was waiting for her to stand up to Don for three whole seasons, but in the finale I was absolutely devastated. If you're behind on this show, please pour yourself a glass of of scotch, light up a cig, and get caught up asap.
Weeds August 16 Weeds started out as such a different show than it's evolved into these days. For a while, I wasn't sure how I felt about the newer, darker weeds. I kept finding myself wishing that Nancy could just walk away from the drug "industry," settle down with a legal job, and be a good mother to her desperately-in-need-of-therapy children. But then....what sort of a show would that be?

And for those times that you feel like watching something a little less stimulating, summer offers a bevy of reality tv treasures: 

Real Housewives of New Jersey now airing My love affair with all things Jersey continues...
Bachelorette May 24 I really, really hate this show. And I will watch every episode. 
Toddlers and Tiaras June 2 I really, really LOVE this show. Bring on the spray tans and flippers!
Work of Art: The Search for the Next Great Artist June 9 A brand new show, like Project Runway for artists. I'm intrigued and will absolutely be tuning in. Finally, a use for my Art History degree!
So You Think You Can Dance June 10 If you fast forward through the Mary Murphy parts, it's actually a pretty good show.
Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami June 13 I'm about thisclose to being over the Kardashians. It's called media saturation, ladies. I blame Kris.
Holly's World June 13 I have to stay true to the original Girls Next Door. I watched Kendra and I'll watch Holly. Is Bridget still on the Travel Channel?
HGTV Design Star June 13 Horray! I feel like this show has been on hiatus for way too long.
Top Chef: DC June 16 I've missed the standard Top Chef format-- Masters just wasn't doing it for me. What does doit for me is Michael Voltaggio from last season. Fingers crossed for a guest judge cameo...
Jersey Shore July 29 Jersey Shore season one was honestly an answer to my prayers. I just hope that the media attention hasn't changed the kids too much. And I hope that tv's greatest couple ever, Sammi Sweetheart and Ronnie, were able to pull things together after the reunion show (which, btw, I am still pissed off at mtv for instigating).

21 May 2010

Reality Competition Round Up

1. The Amazing Race
I can't even talk about the finale of The Amazing Race without getting emotional. All I will say is that the producers CLEARLY aren't determining the winners (like they do in American Idol that show I don't talk about), because I don't think a single person in America wasn't rooting for those cowboys to go home with the grand prize.

2. Survivor
I've been a Russell fan mostly because I like to like the villain, but also because I thought he was actually there to play the game. But by the end of the season, I felt pretty strongly that Parvati should have won (and not just because she's older than me, which makes me feel good about myself). Parvs, as I like to call her, was clever as a fox and played everyone in that game. And I just really, really don't like Sandra (although she looked a thousand times better all dolled up in the finale. And Parvster....actually may have looked better on the island.).

3. Project Runway, ANTM
Time for honesty. I didn't watch the finales of either of these. I was so over both of them that I deleted them off of my dvr and just went online to see who won.

4. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat II
As long as we're being honest...this is probably one of my top ten favorite shows on tv. I can't get enough of the silly challenges, the drunken fights, the sloppy romances, and all of the alliances and backstabbing. And I've had a crush on Kenny, aka Mr Beautiful, since day one (to clarify: a crush in the same way that I love Pauly D and The Situation, not a real crush), and I love seeing him be the king of the Challenge. Also, I'd just like to say that seeing Wes break down during exile this last week was one of the most shocking moments ever seen. (We all understand sarcastic hyperbole around here, right? Because clearly tv's most shocking moments are all Britney Spears-related.)

5. Celebrity Apprentice 2
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: two hours is a ridiculous amount of time to spend on a single show every week. BUt I'm proud as punch of my bff Bret, who has survived every board room as well as a brain hemorrhage (and just in time to come visit me in Wendover on July 30. Don't even think about trying to get backstage before me).

6. Top Chef Masters
This show doesn't really feel the same without Padma (who I like to think was named after Natalie Portman in Star Wars). I've been watching this half-heartedly, but my full attention will return in a few weeks for the premiere of Top Chef: DC. And since he never checks this blog anymore, I feel like I can disclose the fact that Steven dreams about Tom Colicchio.

28 April 2010

Lee Marvin, Derek Jeter, and Khonani

Let’s face it, people. We have all seen last week’s 30 Rock(s) because it is THE best show on television. Yes, I said it. As a guest blogger, I am allowed to make such statements. So, instead of recapping a show we all watched… maybe even more than once… let us relive some of the best moments from last week’s double feature in a segment I like to call "Quotes from Carol*."

*Carol is my nom de plume. This is really Natalie. But don’t you love the alliteration?

"Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter"

Avery: …Think: Slutty Grace Kelly
Jack: Oh, God bless you. I’m picturing it right now. And, the opposite of that just walked in.
Avery: Tell Liz I said “Hi”

Jack: Thanks, Lemon. But my true present is that equisite ensemble. You look like a prison weed dealer.

Jack: Lemon, are you wearing a cup?
Liz: Oh, I forgot: only guys can get hurt there.

Jack: Lemon, the grown-up dating world is like your haircut: sometimes awkward triangles occur.

Liz: You’re going to juggle them? No. Even you can’t pull this off, Jack. Mrs. Doubtfire shimself could not do this.

Nancy: I even got them to make you that flavor we invented.
Jack: Peanut butter and Miller High Life.

Twopher: I am about to utter two words a Harvard man never says…
Liz: I’m cool? I’m sorry. You can’t set me up like that.

Liz: How’s your episode of Three’s Company going?
Jack: Like Three’s Company, it’s titillating yet anxiety-producing. I need your help, Janet.
Liz: Ah man, being Janet sucks.

Pete: Tracy, will you call Twopher and talk some sense into him?
Tracy: Oh yah, just ask the black guy cause we all know each other. Pete, could you tell a bald eagle to stop scaring me at zoos?

Tracy: I know you’re all secretly mad because we finally have a black Disney princess.
Jenna: You know, there actually hasn’t been a white princess since 1991.
Pete: Tiana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Jasmine. Wow she’s right.


Tracy: Well, I yelled Baba-Booey at Walter Cronkite’s funeral. So I actually have no idea of what’s rude or not.

Jack: Oh my: I haven’t seen your brow that furrowed since you saw that picture of Helen Mirren in a bikini.
Liz: How is that possible? Is she a wizard?

Jack: I’ve had to make some tough calls over the years… turning down Dick Cheney’s offer to be King of Iraq.

Cirie: Hey Liz, can I talk to you and Jenna in… the office where everybody clips their toenails?
Liz: Not cool, guys.

Tracy: I trained him to hate white people cause not to profile, but most ghosts are white.

Liz: I want to see the behavior that got you kicked out of the Inaugural Ball.
Tracy: I can’t, LL. First of all, the Secret Service never gave me back my t-shirt cannon...
Liz: No… you have to come. I need you! This party needs to be off the hook!
Tracy: People don’t say that anymore. They say “surf party USA.”

Kenneth: Mr. Jordan, it’s Kenneth Parcell. From work. And friendship.

Liz: Do you think when I was a kid I dreamed of someday paying $1,200 for a karaoke machine to impress a bunch of pasty losers?
Jenna: And a professional singer who’s beautiful, but doesn’t know it.

27 April 2010

Tuesdays on the See-Dub

Ratings suggest that many of you aren't watching this gem of a remake, so I'm going to go ahead and fill you in: Last year, Annie got wasted at a post-Prom fete, drove off, and hit a homeless man. The whole incident was witnessed by homeless man's nephew, drug dealer Jasper. Annie and Jasper dated, Annie lost her V card, Jasper went mental when Annie tried to dump him and jumped off the Hollywood sign. Then Annie felt relieved that her secret was safe and started hanging out with the popular kids again, but guilt got the best of her and she went all tell-tale heart-like crazy. Her adopted half-brother, Dixon, was hooking up with an older woman who faked a pregnancy to keep them together, but his mom foiled that plot and he decided that he was into Silver (who is the half-sister of 90210 version one stars David Silver and Kelly Martin). Silver started dating Teddy, the former womanizer who looks like he's 35. Teddy's childhood bff is child actress Adria, who dumped true love Navid to give Teddy a whirl. When she found out Teddy wasn't into the whole concept of a relationship, she tried to get back with Navid, who was too hurt to take her back. Navid started dating an emo ginger, and Adria fell back into a nasty drug habit and then started dating her AA bff....Rumer Willis. Adria's non-gay bff is Naomi, the curly haired blonde who cashed in her trust fund and moved out with her older sister, Jen. Jen was full of secrets, like the fact that she was broke and using Naomi for her money, as well as the fact that she hooked up with Naomi's flame, Liam. Liam was buddy buddy with surfer chick Ivy, who got jealous when he and Naomi got back together. So she and Dixon had a fake romance to make their former lovers, Silver and Liam, jealous, but then the romance turned serious and they started dating for realsies. Ivy's mom is a Jeri Hall-esque record exec who likes the mary jane as well as West Bev High teacher Ryan, who has also romanced crazy sis Jen and WBHS vice principal....Kelly Martin. Kelly has a crush on the principal, who happens to be married to aunt Becky from Full House, also known as the mother of Dixon and Annie. SEE HOW FULL-CIRCLE THIS SHOW IS??? Tune in for the final two episodes of the season, which include teenage gambling addiction, student-teacher sex scandals, an estranged birth mom witnessing a forbidden kiss with a yoga teacher, Luke from Gilmore Girls, and the standard love/betrayal that comes with teenage dramas. And all this when you're trying to study for the SATs.

Melrose Place
Simply put: it's what happens when the kids from 90210 grow up. Season one is over, season two is yet to be confirmed (which is stressing me out). But if you feel inclined to pick up the dvds, you can look forward to murder mysteries, embezzlement, breaking and entering, fine art burglaries, prostitution, blackmail, a broken engagement, a life-threatening medical condition....and Heather Locklear. Dear CW, Please renew! xoxoM ps: I still maintain that you had the best ad campaign I've ever seen...