Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Keeping Up with The Neighbors

Fall Television is officially here!  With all of the new TV programs airing this fall, Amber West and I have a ton of homework to do…  This week, we tuned in and watched two of the most recent additions to the comedy lineups for our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews—NBC’s Guys with Kids and ABC’s The Neighbors.

Welcome to Hidden Hills, a gated community in the suburbs of New Jersey complete with its own golf course… sounds peaceful, right?  Not when the entire neighborhood consists of aliens…

The new ABC comedy follows the experiences of the Weaver family, the first human family to move into Hidden Hills in the ten years its current residents (aliens from the planet Zabvron) have been waiting for instructions to return home.  At first, the Weavers believe their new neighbors are just weird (they dress alike AND they are all named after famous athletes), but do weird neighbors really cry out a nasty goo from their ears when upset?  No… that would be aliens.

The series stars Lenny Venito (one of Sipowicz’s snitches from NYPD Blue) and Jami Gertz (one of my favorite ‘80s actresses from movies like Sixteen Candles, Lost Boys, and Less Than Zero) as Marty and Debbie Weaver.  The Weavers have waited for years to get their family of five (Amber, the typical cranky teenager; Max, the take it or leave it preteen boy; and Abby, the youngest and typically adorable daughter) out of their crammed New Jersey apartment, and when the first unit in Hidden Hills opens up they snatch it.

The Weaver family’s reaction to the news that their neighbors are aliens…

Immediately welcoming the Weavers are the neighbors, a group of identically dressed adults all holding pies, led by the “supreme leader” Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) and his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye).  The Weavers notice that the Joyner-Kersee-Bird family is a bit of an oddity, but accept an invitation to dinner anyway—being neighborly and all…

While at dinner, the strangeness continues… at the dinner table, the Weavers enjoy the food that the Joyner-Kersee-Birds prepared for them, while the JKBs read books—that’s how they nourish their bodies.  After their respective meals, Jackie Joyner-Kersee confesses to Debbie that she wishes Larry Bird would treat her with more respect and talk to her the same way Marty does with Debbie, instead of ordering her around all the time.  Jackie further explains that she allows this treatment solely because Larry Bird gave birth to their children (a teenager, Reggie Jackson, and his younger brother, Dick Butkus)—a feat she will never understand and always appreciate.

Wait a minute… did Jackie Joyner-Kersee just imply that the men get pregnant and carry the babies in Hidden Hills?  Weird… oh, wait; they’re all aliens… okay.

But, perhaps my favorite part was when Jackie Joyner-Kersee was washing dishes… well, not so much washing as throwing them out the window.  Now, that’s my kind of lady!  Haven’t we all been there before?  Wishing we could just toss the nastiness instead of soaking and scrubbing plates?

Anyway, it’s not until after dinner that all the craziness breaks out.

Trying to impress his new friends, Dick Butkus shows Max and Abby exactly what makes him special—with the clap of his hands, he immediately transforms into a little green alien, thrusting green goo all over the Weaver children.  Needless to say, the Weaver children run screaming from the house, leaving the parents wondering what in the world had just transpired upstairs.  And of course, Marty and Debbie don’t believe Max and Abby… not until the entire Joyner-Kersee-Bird family shows up at the Weaver house and lets their true forms shine.

The “real” Joyner-Kersee-Bird Family…

The first episode opened with a lot of promise; I even laughed out loud on a few different occasions.  But, the subsequent episodes haven’t nearly been as funny…  Honestly, I thought “the neighbors are aliens” secret would last a little longer; but they were “outed” before the end of the first episode.  The remaining episodes, while cute, have focused on the Weavers “teaching” the Joyner-Kersee-Birds all about life here on earth, while simultaneously learning about their very own family issues within.

Usually when I review a new television program, I can’t help but award it with the SSTV rating; but I’m breaking away from the norm today.  That’s right—I’m awarding The Neighbors with the NIV rating.  I know what some of our readers are thinking… I must not like ABC’s new comedy if I’m only willing to watch it while I’m dozing off.  That’s not true; I do like it, but it’s not something I’m dying to watch as soon as Wednesday night rolls around.

It’s simply okay; not bad, but not great either… but, definitely appropriate for viewers of all ages—a real family show.  There really aren’t many honest-to-goodness family programs on TV today… and this is one reason why I keep tuning in to The Neighbors.  The sitcom tackles very important topics like the first day of school in a new neighborhood (or world for that matter), how to respond to bullying, the meaning of family holiday celebrations, and the patience to understand that we’re not all the same.

Aliens on an escalator for the first time… too funny!

I may not watch The Neighbors until I’m crawling into bed to go to sleep, but I do watch it—it remains a weekly recording on my DVR queue… for now.

What do you think?  Have you watched The Neighbors?   I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what she thinks about Jimmy Fallon’s new creation, Guys With Kids.

Come back next week when Amber and I return with an installment of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday unlike any other… we’re reviewing the same show for the very first time!  Will we agree or disagree after watching Chicago Fire?

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV)Do we really have to explain? Blech

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Tele-Tuesday: A Halloween Special – Growing Up a Munster

This past Friday, NBC aired a Mockingbird Lane Halloween special…

What is Mockingbird Lane?  Does this ring any bells?

That’s right!  NBC put together an all-star cast in a reboot of the 1960s classic The Munsters.  I’ve been waiting on the promotions for this show since Jerry O’Connell first announced his new role as Herman Munster on Live with Kelly.  I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and finally saw the first trailer for the Halloween special earlier this month.

Halloween special?  What happened to Mockingbird Lane being a new series?

Unfortunately, and not really all that surprising, the network swooped in and dropped on ax on the ten million dollar project before it aired one single episode.  However, in a move unlike most networks that have just killed an expensive project before even allowing the public to chime in by watching, NBC decided to air one episode Friday, October 26th before the Halloween episode of Grimm.  Rumors swirled after the announcement, speculating that the special’s ratings would determine whether or not the network gives Mockingbird Lane another chance at a weekly series in 2013.  Like most rumors, we’ll all just have to wait and see…

Regardless, this news crushed me; but, at least the network gave the reboot a chance.  While I’m not sure what kind of numbers NBC was hoping for, it has been reported that Mockingbird Lane pulled in 5.4 million viewers on Friday night.  This number is just barely shy of the channel’s hit Friday night fairy tale drama, Grimm.

So, let’s talk Mockingbird Lane

First, let’s clarify that this rendition of The Munsters is not a situational comedy—it is a drama with comedic elements—a dramedy, if you will.

Now that we’ve cleared that up,  let’s meet the Munsters: Grandpa, or “D” (short for Dracula), played by Eddie Izzard, the over-bearing grandparent who sees nothing wrong with his family heritage; Herman, played by Jerry O’Connell, a former human created into a “munster” by Grandpa; Lily, played by Portia de Rossi DeGeneres, the family matriarch and vampire (but we’ll talk more about this shortly);  Marilyn, played by Charity Wakefield, the “normal” Munster, as in human; and Eddie, played by Mason Cook, the wanna be normal adolescent boy who learns he’s not so normal… he’s a werewolf.

These Munsters are not quite the same as the ‘60s family…

Instead of being sarcastic and goofy, Grandpa comes across as very blunt (although humans think he’s joking) and serious.  While he does have a laboratory underneath the staircase, viewers don’t really see the “fun” side of Grandpa as he cooks up his spells that we loved in the old series.  Like most vampires, Grandpa has a fixation on feeding and making humans his toys in this one-hour special.  To Grandpa, humans serve one purpose—they are a food source for his family and a salvage yard for Herman… and he makes no apologies for this.

Marilyn and Grandpa on a stroll to meet the new neighbors…

Instead of being a childish buffoon with extreme strength, today’s Herman is very parental, loving, and gentle.  This Grandpa-made Frankenstein monster does not have the classic Herman bolts in his neck, but instead has visual reminders of his surgical transformations with scars and zippers all over his neck, chest, and arms (loved the Herman introduction though, with Jerry O’Connell standing in front of a lamp post with the fixture creating a silhouette of the Herman bolts—nice touch).  Unfortunately for this Herman, he “loves too hard,” showcased by his need for a new “ticker,” or heart.

Instead of donning the classic white streak through her hair, Mockingbird Lane’s Lily has beautiful, one-toned brown hair (or maybe it’s black; I watched it without my contacts in).  She shows no signs of being fiery… and her vampirism is not mentioned once.  Actually, if one didn’t know any better, one might assume this Lily was also a werewolf like her son—she even mentions at one point that she’ll be careful not to hurt any humans in twenty-nine days, or at the next full moon.  I know Lily is supposed to be a vampire, but I feel the series could have focused less on her special effects (bugs dressing her and smoke enveloping her as she moved) and more on her character.

But, unlike the differences in Grandpa, Herman, and Lily, the remaining two Munsters were very close to their counterparts—Marilyn and Eddie…

Marilyn is human… a gorgeous, blonde human who has recently enrolled in community college.  While she is not a monster, she loves her family all the same and understands their lifestyle and needs.  Eddie wants nothing more than to be like his cousin Marilyn—a human; but, he’s not…he’s a werewolf.  He insists on being a vegetarian and refuses to eat meat, so his parents bring home a dragon to help Eddie control his urges.  Yes, a dragon instead of the usual family pet dog.

Today’s Herman and Lily explaining to Eddie exactly what he is…

Despite the differences between the original and rebooted characters, I did enjoy the one-hour Halloween special.  The visual effects were amazing, especially for television.  The story was a creative twist on the original; after all, it was a Bryan Fuller development… remember Pushing Daisies?

However, the special one-hour program lacked a bit for me.  Perhaps it’s because what we saw Friday night was supposed to be the pilot episode for a returning program and NOT a one-hour Halloween special.  To me, a special should start cleanly, which Mockingbird Lane did with the character introductions and explanation for the family’s moving.  A one-hour special should also wrap up nicely, which Mockingbird Lane did as well.  But here’s what it was missing… the middle.  A special’s body should follow a complete cycle of particular storyline in-between the opening and closing.  In my opinion, the story of Herman and Lily telling Eddie he was a werewolf was just too choppy and forced to wrap early.

Trust me; I wanted to LOVE Mockingbird Lane… and I’m still not opposed to the series returning on a weekly basis.  But, if the rumors were true and the ratings were high enough, I expect more from the subsequent episodes.

Did you watch Mockingbird Lane’s Halloween Special?  What did you think?  Would you like to see this Munster reboot made into a new television series?  Why or why not?  What did you think about the revamped characters?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – Must Read New Releases for Now and Later

It’s an exciting time of year—football has kicked into high gear and fall is officially here.

Fall is my favorite time of year, especially when the weather actually cools once the sun goes down.  For me, there’s nothing much better than curling up in my comfy chair, throwing a blanket over my legs, lighting a candle, and reading a great book on those cool, fall nights.  So today, I’ve decided to share five new and upcoming releases that are must reads on my bookshelf.  If you’re looking for the next bestseller in the young adult, mystery, suspense, fantasy, and thriller genres, check these out and help support five fabOoolous authors!

*****

EVIE always thought college life would be magical, but so far it’s not what she hoped for. Her best friend has gone wild, her love life is void, and she misses her mom more than ever. But life for Evie is about to change. CALVIN KNIGHT, the very object of her fascination, is about to fall madly in love with her. Just one problem: Their love conjures a murderous woman from beyond the grave who wants Evie dead. The same demon who has haunted the Knight men for over four generations.

Soon Calvin is forced to choose: Set Evie free and hope to evade the wrath of The Raven-haired Ghost, or use his newly gifted strengths to fight against her. If he chooses to fight and wins, Calvin will free the Knight men of this demonic witch. If he loses, Evie will become her next victim.

Kim’s Evie’s Knight is now available!

*****

TALES FROM THE MIST will take you on a journey into the dark world of the paranormal. These twelve stories vary in their degree of horror, yet all reach across the boundaries of their genres into the chilling realms of the macabre. Witches, ghosts, shape-shifters and vampire rats are some of the creatures that reign within these pages.

One of the stories, Haste, is written by my Original versus Remake series partner, Catie Rhodes. When asked where she found the inspiration for her story, here is what she had to say:

HASTE is about rage and consequences.

I can’t count how many times I’ve wished I could turn back the clock because I let my temper get the best of me.  Usually, I wish I could take back something I’ve said.  I can be rather sharp-tongued.  This is why internet socializing suits me so well. I have time to think about everything I’m saying before I hit send.

The main character of HASTE commits a double murder in a fit of rage.  As events unfold, she has plenty of time to think about the old saying:

Act in haste. Repent at leisure.

Every action has consequence.  The legal system metes out a great deal of consequence. However, I also believe in the concept of karma delivering consequences.

Another story, The Consuming, was written by Rhonda Hopkins, a local writer who I chat with all the time on social media (but have not yet had the pleasure of meeting in person).

Serena knows her late uncle wasn’t crazy. So when she inherits his sprawling Carolina mansion and leaves the big city to restore both his home and his name, she uncovers a mystery that could cost much more than her sanity. As the house slowly reveals its dark secrets, and the extent of her peril becomes evident, she’ll settle for escaping with her life—if it isn’t already too late.

Sound good?  This anthology is made up of more stories just like these two…

Tales From the Mist is now available!

*****

Tate is afraid of the dark. But his junkie sister has disappeared into the terrifying storm drains below Las Vegas. The tunnels stretch hundreds of miles beneath the city, housing the homeless and Sin City’s criminal element. Armed with only his flashlight, Tate wades into the gritty depths of the storm drains to rescue his sister from her demons.

Every step into the smothering darkness challenges Tate’s resolve. With his sister’s life and his own sanity at stake, Tate must face his fears or risk fading into the dank oblivion of the Las Vegas tunnels.

Plus, Welcome to Las Vegas contains an exclusive excerpt of Stacy’s upcoming novel, INTO THE DARK.

Stacy’s Welcome to Las Vegas will be available Thursday, November 1st… mark your calendars!

*****

Sarah Steele has a lot to prove. Foster care brat turned successful Assistant District Attorney, she’s enjoying her magical pumpkin carriage ride but knows she is only one mistake away from landing on the curb. When she’s given an open-and-shut case regarding multi-millionaire Hank Williams and his murder of young Tracy Mulligan, Sarah’s determined to win. But when everything goes wrong, and there’s a killer on the loose, she isn’t prepared for who the real battle is against: herself. Is she really willing to do anything to take Hank Williams down?

Who is she? The successful, happy ADA or the wild, angry vigilante?

Aaron and Ellie Ann’s Breaking Steele will be available Friday, November 30th… mark your calendars!

*****

For years, Kari Hunter’s fooled the world into thinking she’s just an everyday girl. Sure, she’s the lead singer of world-renowned band Vis Viva, but outside of that, she recycles religiously, is an avid supporter of the environment, and a certifiable coffee addict. But Kari has a secret she keeps from her family, friends, and her fans.

Kari Hunter is a necromancer.

The rarest and most powerful of all magic-born, necromancers are notorious for leaving a trail of sacrifices in their wake. But Kari isn’t interested in hurting anyone. She works hard at being as un-necromancer-like as possible: everyone she stabs gets a bandage and a lollipop, and whenever her sacrificial knives get too excited at the prospect of violence, she puts them in time-out… in her lingerie drawer.

But when an agent of voodoo master Ruairi O’Bryne catches Kari using her powers, her secret’s out. And if Ruairi finds out who Kari is, he’ll stop at nothing to make her his next sacrifice.

Jen’s The Fourth Channel is coming soon… so stay tuned!

*****

Don’t these books sound fabOoolous!!  I’ve met all of these authors, either in person or online in writing communities, and I can’t wait to read their latest releases.  I hope you do too!

Have you read any of these books?  If so, please share your thoughts…  Do you have any other new releases that you think the rest of us should read or that you can’t wait to crack open?  I’d love to hear from you!

And, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!  Reviewers agree that FS is perfect for teens and adults alike!

Here are some of the most recent reviews…

“Although many would classify this book in the young adult marketing category, I say this book is for the young adult in all of us! I am 50 years old and completely enjoyed reading this book. It took me back to the days of Texas football and bonfires! I also enjoyed the book being told from the viewpoint of an athletic trainer (which is a very hard job and doesn’t get much press)! Very good read for anyone either wanting a trip down memory lane or for those just wanting a small town Texas football experience with a heaping scoop of mystery on top.” ~ Lisa C.

“I was looking for a book to read and my daughter had been talking about this book a lot. I gave it a try and I am glad I did!

I enjoyed following the characters through this mystery and learning about the town of Midland and the football program. I kept asking my daughter questions and she just kept telling me to read it. I could hardly put the book down! The mystery kept me guessing until almost the end.

This book is easily enjoyed by anyone. I would especially recommend this book to teenagers and parents of teenagers. It is great to be able to discuss a book with my daughter that we both enjoyed so much. We are both looking forward to more in this series and now we will have to compete with each other to see who reads the next book first! Thank you Tiffany A. White for creating this wonderful story!” ~ Dawn H.

A Football Sweetheart Playlist

Hey, guys!

I normally don’t blog on Thursdays; actually, this is my first ever Thursday post—who says I’m a creature of habit?

Anyway, a few weeks ago, my dear friend Catie Rhodes (some of you may already be familiar with her from our Original versus Remake series) asked if I would be interested in writing a guest post over at her blog to help promote my book.  Knowing me and my love for television and movies, she first asked me to write about a few TV shows and/or films that compared to or held similarities to my young adult mystery Football Sweetheart.  I immediately said I’d do it, and I got to work on the programs that I’d use… definitely one mystery, like Pretty Little Liars, and definitely one with some football, like Varsity Blues or Friday Night Lights.

But, before I started writing, Catie changed her mind and asked that I do something different—create a music playlist for my book.

Obviously, I’m most comfortable talking about television and movies; anyone that reads The Ooo Factor knows this.  But, like most writers, I appreciate a challenge.  So how does one go about creating a playlist for one’s novel?

Please take the opportunity to stop by Catie’s blog to see which songs I “heard” while writing Football Sweetheart.  Some of the music should come as no surprise, being as these songs are mentioned in the book.  However, some of the tunes are strictly background music… these songs represent more the music that I “heard” while writing my novel.  I keep typing the word heard inside quotation marks, and that’s because I didn’t necessarily listen to the music as I wrote, but instead imagined these songs playing within the scenes themselves… sort of like a movie’s background music.

Enjoy…

And, thank you Catie for this wonderful opportunity!  You forced me outside my comfort zone… and I honestly had a ton of fun creating a Symphony of a Football Sweetheart!

After all, girls do just want to have fun…

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Struck by Arrow

Fall Television is officially here!  With all of the new TV programs airing this fall, Amber West and I have a ton of homework to do…  This week, we tuned in and watched two of the CW’s newest dramas for our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews—Beauty and the Beast and Arrow.

We all know how much of a success Smallville was; heck, it lasted ten seasons on the CW.  Fighting crime alongside Clark (aka The Blur; aka Superman, played by Tom Welling) in the later seasons of Smallville was Oliver Queen (aka the Green Arrow, played by Justin Hartley).  Personally, I loved Oliver and was thrilled to hear the CW was launching a Green Arrow show; but I’d be remiss to not mention that I was just a tad bit disappointed when I learned Mr. Hartley would not be reprising his role.

Instead, in the new series Arrow, the role of the “billionaire playboy” Oliver Queen is played by the very attractive Stephen Amell.  I’ll try to let the re-casting slide for this very reason… he really is cute.

Hello, Mr. Amell. Nice to meet you.

Following an accident at sea, Oliver Queen was presumed dead.  After being discovered alive on an island five years later, Oliver finally returns home… but the accident changed him.  While his closest friends and family welcome him back with open arms, Oliver wants more—he needs more—so he decides to reconcile his past, starting with his ex-girlfriend (Laurel Lance, played by Catie Cassidy from Harper’s Island and the short-lived reboot of Melrose Place).  But he doesn’t stop there; Oliver also wants to restore his city from the “ills of society.”

Before Oliver and his father set out to sea, the young Queen thought it somehow appropriate to invite his girlfriend Laurel’s sister along with him for a getaway.  Not only did Oliver not care that he was cheating in the worst possible way, he watched Laurel’s sister wash away with the yacht.  Once inside the lifeboat with his father, the elder Queen made some confessions to his son, revealing that he wasn’t the man Oliver thought he was.  Along with a list of other men, Oliver’s father purposely destroyed their city for one reason—greed.  Oliver’s father begged him to make things right on his behalf before taking his own life; and with that, Oliver’s new persona was born—a green-hoodie-wearing vigilante, Arrow.

He is really good with a bow and arrow…

Of course, I’m not quite sure how Oliver went from a spoiled, rich boy to the crime fighting stud that he is today…  I have many questions about his five years on that island.  Not only can he leap like Spiderman without the web from spot to spot, but he also has mad bow and arrow skills.  But at least we do know how he keeps up that beautiful physique, and ladies this one is for you—the way he moves up that ladder by only hanging onto that metal bar as he swings his body up rung by rung… oh, my!

Ollie… oh, my!

The series also stars many familiar faces: Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files and The River) as Detective Quentin Lance, Laurel’s father—needless to say, he’s quite angry with Oliver for taking his other daughter out to sea with him which ultimately led to her death;  David Ramsey (Dexter) as John Diggle, Oliver’s driver and bodyguard—this guy is fun—he’s almost as stealthy as Oliver; Willa Holland (the O.C.) as Thea, Oliver’s sister—this poor girl has issues; losing her father and her brother in the boating accident led to her snorting and swallowing anything that can help take the edge off; Colin Donnell (Pan Am) as Tommy, Oliver’s best friend—my guy is convinced Tommy is going to be a bad guy… me not so much, but I guess we’ll see; Susanna Thompson (Once and Again) as Moira, Oliver’s mother—just remember, things aren’t always as they seem…; and Jamey Sheridan (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) as Robert, Oliver’s father.

Paul Blackthorne… I love this guy!

Usually when I review a new television program, I can’t help but award it with the SSTV rating; but I’m breaking away from the norm today!  That’s right—I’m awarding Arrow with the JFTV rating!  Like the Lay’s potato chip slogan, “Betcha can’t eat just one,” Arrow piqued my interest just enough to make me bite again.  It may not be the best new show airing today, but it has sucked me in.  Here’s to hoping it doesn’t disappoint and get downgraded deeper into the season… because for now, it definitely tastes good.

What do you think?  Have you watched Arrow?  What do you think about Mr. Amell replacing the Oliver from Smallville?  How do you think Oliver learned everything he did on the island?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what she thinks about Beauty and the Beast.  I like it, but does she?

Come back next week when Amber and I return with a few of television’s most recent comedies, NBC’s Guys with Kids and ABC’s The Neighbors.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: Who’s Behind the Gossip?

This month marked the beginning of the end for one of the CW’s most popular series, Gossip Girl.  After six seasons of witnessing the lives of the very privileged Upper East Side teens (and a few Brooklyn-based teens) at Constance progress from high school to college and now to young professionals, loyal viewers sit on pins and needles to see who the mastermind is behind the “Gossip Girl” email and text blasts.

“XOXO, Gossip Girl.”

And, if the other fans of Gossip Girl are like me, these last few years have been a bit trying… watching every single character silently walk away from college and suddenly find themselves handed the golden spoon to a promising and successful career… waiting to see if any of the characters’ shenanigans would stop or if the same vicious cycle would repeat itself yet again… and needing to know who in the world has been torturing the characters from day one by revealing all of their dirty little secrets.

Who said what about whom?

Based on the young adult novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, Gossip Girl follows five young characters in New York City: Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), also known as “S” and the “It Girl”; Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), also known as B or the “Queen B”; Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), also known as the “Bad Boy” of the Upper East Side; Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), also known as the “Golden Boy” of the Upper East Side; and Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), also known as “Lonely Boy” or the lone Brooklynite of the group.  They’re all friends, sort of, and they all have oodles of conflict surrounding them.  Trust me, it never stops.

Queen B’s fashion… remember the headbands?

The early years were great—the latter years not so much.   So why do I keep tuning in for more?  Maybe it’s because I’m a glutton for punishment; maybe it’s because I hate to quit anything, even television shows; or maybe it’s because I can’t give up without knowing certain outcomes after investing six television seasons of my life into the show…

  • Will Chuck and Blair end up together?  They need to.  They deserve each other…
  • Will Dan walk away from the nonsense he has put up with all of these years from Serena, Blair, and Chuck and start a new life?  Please, even if it takes Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) helping him come to his senses…
  • Will Nate ever walk away from all of the drama?  He is always the first to help a friend out of a jam, but his character seems so much more grounded than the rest of them.  He deserves more…
  • Will anyone slap Serena?  Anyone?  One time?  Multiple times?  Please?  She is so whiny and self-centered…
“Bad Boy” Chuck… he’s always been my favorite.

But, trust me; it hasn’t always been frustrating and it’s not all bad.  There are quite a few aspects of the show that I won’t complain about.  And, despite my annoyances, Gossip Girl reminds me of some of my favorite television programs of all time.

The fashion.  While so many outfits are a bit over-the-top and most of us could never afford to dress like these kids, the fashion keeps us all up-to-date on what’s hot and what’s not.  Gossip Girl reminds me of Sex and the City in this way.  Women may have loved Carrie’s and the other girls’ outfits, but deep down knew that we’d never own any of it ourselves.  Not at those prices anyway.

S & B – BFFs 4-Ever… just look at how cute these outfits are! Gotta love the hats…

The music.  Gossip Girl kind of reminds me of the “real” 90210 in a way when it comes to music.  Aaron Spelling’s popular teen drama always included the generation’s best music.  At the end of each episode, he would announce the name and artist of the featured songs.  GG does the same, and I’ve learned of numerous artists I may not have known otherwise if not for this (I don’t really listen to the radio anymore).

Poor “Lonely Boy” – he’s never been able to walk away from his love for Serena… not matter how she treats him.

But the real question is—will we learn who “Gossip Girl” really is?  We know Georgina filled in for the gossip columnist for a while, as did Serena and Nate.  But who is the REAL mastermind?  Will the show introduce a new character played by Kristen Bell?  After all, she’s the voice behind the mischief.  Or will it be someone we’ve known all along?  Jenny (Taylor Momsen)?  She’s been MIA for a few years now…  Vanessa (Jessica Szohr)?  Where did she disappear to?  Eric (Connor Paolo)?  He’s been mistreated so many times that we all know he’d have motive.  Or, let’s go out on a limb here… is it one of the adults?  Serena’s mom, Lily (Kelly Rutherford)?  Dan’s dad, Rufus (Matthew Settle)?  Blair’s housekeeper, Dorota (Zuzanna Szadkowski)?  Chuck’s uncle, Jack (Desmond Harrington)?  Wouldn’t that be a nice twist if GG was actually one of the elders?!

Nate… always there when his friends need him.

Bottom line, Gossip Girl, you’ve hooked me.  I must know the answers to my questions, and I will tune in to the final episodes and cross my fingers that we learn the true identity of the face behind the blasts come December when the series ends.  When it’s all said and done, I will wish all of the characters the best moving forward… except maybe Serena.  I don’t know why, but I just can’t bring myself to like the character.

Chuck and Blair… they belong together.

Here’s to hoping the ending doesn’t disappoint.

What do you think?  Are you a Gossip Girl fan?  Who do you think GG is?  Are there any television shows you’ve stuck with from beginning to end simply because you’d already invested so much time into them, but probably shouldn’t have?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FaBOOolousness – Celebrating October and Halloween 2012

October is one of my favorite months.  First of all, football season has officially kicked into high-gear.  Also, the cooler weather slowly begins to creep into the state of Texas—everywhere really, but we Texans can finally start to notice a difference between the daytime and nighttime temperatures.

Additionally, one of my favorite holidays just happens to fall during the month of October—Halloween.  I enjoy getting dressed up, most of the time anyway, and handing out candy to all of the children who knock on my door.  I’m also fascinated by the idea of anything spooky—haunted houses, horror movies, etcetera.

And, since it is October and Halloween is right around the corner, why not dedicate a Friday FaBOOolousness post to my fellow bloggers getting into the spirit with some spooky and festive posts?

Food and Recipes…

Yum. Myndi. Yum.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, anyone?  Check out Myndi Shafer’s recipe!

How about Pumpkin Tiramisu?  Kathy Owen tempts our taste buds…

Apple Pie?  Sarah Benson shares her step-by-step process to this delicious treat…

And, while it may not be a specific Halloween or fall treat, I couldn’t help but include August McLaughlin’s Best Foods for Sex post.

Halloween Arts and Crafts and Costumes…

S.P.O.O.K.Y.

Looking for a quick craft for Halloween?  Lucky for us, Tameri Etherton gives us the steps for Spooky Eyes

How about another?  Liz Schulte shares how she made the perfect “Raven” Halloween Decorations last year over on Mandy O’Steen Stevens’ blog Taking Time for Mommy.

Need a quick and easy costume idea?  Check out Jill Kemerer’s faBOOolous idea in her Costumes and Crime Scenes post!

And, let’s not forget about our furry friends.  Thankfully, we have Amy Shojai to share a few Kitty Costumes that are absolutely hisss-terical.

Spooky True Crime Stories…

Two of my favorite bloggers always have faBOOolous posts about true-crime and freaky stories, so I’ve chosen two that fit into today’s BOO! Factor.

Believe in urban legends?  Check out Catie Rhode’s post about The Black-Eyed Kids.

Crazies exist year round, not just during Halloween.  To prove it, Stacy Green writes about a few Celebrity Stalkers.

Miscellaneous Halloween and Spooky Stories…

Kitt Crescendo shares why she loves Halloween in her post All About All Hallows

This one takes me back… the Halloween movies we loved as kids by Olivia Hardin.

Before we go, this week a few of my writer friends (Catie Rhodes and Rhonda Hopkins) released a collection of spooky short stories in their anthology Tales From the Mist.  Be sure and check it out!   I’ll reveal my review of the works in an upcoming Friday FabOoolousness post… so stay tuned!

What does Halloween mean to you?  Do you dress up in costume and go trick or treating?  What’s some of your favorite Halloween pastimes and crafts?  Do you have any ghost stories to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

And just when you thought my post was over, I decide to keep going.  I guess it’s my little “trick” for Halloween…

Are you looking to go to the movies this month?  Here are a few posts that might help sway you one way or another…

Piper Bayard’s Review of Argo… I hear Ben Affleck knocks the ball out of the park with this one.  Do Piper and Holmes agree?

Bond.  James Bond.  A few weeks ago, the world celebrated its favorite spy’s 50th anniversary, and my favorite British gal Donna Newton helps us get ready for the Skyfall release in theaters November 9th.

Do you plan to see Argo or the new James Bond?  Or have you already?  I’d love to hear from you!

And, if you like to read whodunits, check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!  High School Football Can Be MURDER…