Tele-Tuesday: The Hot New Thing – Midseason Replacements

If we’ve learned anything year after year, we’ve learned that as time passes, people change.   We’ve also learned to adapt to other changes as well, like the revolving door of television programs.

The networks update their television schedules drastically over the course of a year, sometimes in just a matter of months.  We have fall premieres, winter premieres, summer premieres, and now we have this new set of TV programs called midseason replacements.

Does a “midseason replacement” mean that the veteran show it is replacing midseason has actually been cancelled?  Not necessarily…

It seems the terminology “midseason replacement” is simply the networks’ way of testing the market for a new pilot series, instead of rushing the cancellation of current programs airing today to only regret it later.  We live in a marketing based world – why not order a few episodes of a new show to air in April in order to test the waters in a popular timeslot before announcing the plans for the next season in May?

*****

Bent

Bent follows recently divorced attorney, Alex (Amanda Peet, Saving Silverman), as she tries to pick up the ”bent” pieces of her life post-divorce.  With sole-custody of her daughter, Alex buys a small home that is in need of renovations.  She hires Pete (David Walton, Perfect Couples), a contractor who is also trying to pick up the pieces of his “bent” life (recovering gambling addict) as well.

Alex and Pete are nothing alike — Alex is a responsible person with a no-nonsense personality, while Pete flies by the seat of his pants.  We can definitely smell the romance brewing between these two and the sitcom hasn’t even premiered yet.

The new comedy also stars: Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) as Pete’s father; Margo Harshman (Sorority Row) as Alex’s sister; and Joey King (Ramona & Beezus) as Alex’s daughter.

Bent premieres Wednesday, March 21st on NBC.

*****

Best Friends Forever

Created by and starring Lennon Parham (as Lennon White, from Accidentally on Purpose) and Jessica St. Clair (as Jessica Black, from Bridesmaids), Best Friends Forever follows two lifelong friends after one of them (Jessica) is served divorce papers.  After the news that her marriage is over, Jessica decides to leave California and return to New York where she moves in with Lennon in the old apartment the two previously shared.

The two women pick up right where they left off, which isn’t helping Lennon’s boyfriend (Joe Foley, played by comedian Luka Jones) feel at home in the apartment where he lives too.  In addition to Lennon’s potential relationship troubles, Jessica reconnects with an old friend (Rav Stark, played by Stephen Schneider) who might just have a flame still burning for her, making her new single life more complicated that she originally bargained for.

It appears the sitcom is just as much about the women’s friendship as it is their romantic lives’ ups and downs…

 Best Friends Forever, premieres Wednesday, April 4th on NBC.

*****

Scandal

Scandal stars Kerry Washington (from the Fantastic Four movies) as Olivia Pope, a former White House communications director who is now operating her very own private crisis management firm.  She hires an apparently qualified staff; a staff that successfully fixes the firm’s client’s problems, but also brings their own issues to the table: Stephen (Henry Ian Cusick, Lost); Harrison (Columbus Short, The Losers); Hack (Guillermo Diaz, Weeds); Abby (Darby Stanchfield, Jericho); and Quinn (Katie Lowes, Easy Money).

Scandal also stars Tony Goldwyn (Ghost) as Fitzgerald Grant, President of the United States, and Jeff Perry (My So Called Life) as Cyrus Beene, the President’s Chief of Staff.  ** It is rumored that the new drama is loosely inspired by the actual life of President George H. W. Bush’s former press aide…**

Looks scandalous to me...

Will Olivia succeed in starting her new life?  Or will the secrets she has worked so diligently to hide in her past resurface?  Will her staff help her, or will they hold her back?

Scandal premieres Thursday, April 5th on ABC.

*****

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 tells the story of two unlikely roommates surviving in New York City…

Roommate #1: June (played by Dreama Walker, Seven Deadly Sins) hails from the Midwest, yet uproots her life for her ideal job in corporate America.  Only when she arrives in The Big Apple, she discovers her position has been eliminated, so she does what everyone does at least once in their lifetime – she becomes a barista.

Roommate #2: Chloe (played by Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad) is a partying socialite who has been accused on more than one occasion of being a con artist, and she is constantly hanging out with her best friend (James Van Der Beek as James Van Der Beek).

Will June survive NYC?  Will she heed everyone’s warning to not trust the “B” in Apt. 23? Will James Van Der Beek playing a fictionalized version of himself be enough to keep this new comedy alive?

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 premieres Wednesday, April 11th on ABC.

*****

NYC 22

And of course the midseason replacements would not be complete without a police procedural…

Not to be confused with ABC’s Rookie Blue, NYC 22 follows six NYPD rookies as they adjust to their new life on patrol.  The group consists of: Jennifer “White House” Perry (LeeLee Sobieski, Joan of Arc), a former marine; Ray “Lazarus” Harper (Adam Goldberg, Dazed and Confused), an older rookie than the others with a previous career in police news reporting; Tonya Sanchez (Judy Marte, Raising Victor Vargas), who has a few criminals in her family’s past; Ahmad Kahn (Tom Reed), a former Afghani native; Kenny McClaren (Stark Sands, Generation Kill), who falls in line as a 4th generation cop; and Jayson “Jackpot” Toney (Harold House Moore, Necessary Roughness), a former basketball star who should have seen success in the NBA.

Clearly, the six rookies form a much diversified group with extremely different backgrounds, who now share the same goal — protect the streets of New York City.

The drama also stars Terry Kinney (Oz) as Field Training Officer, Daniel “Yoda” Dean, and Felix Solis (The Good Wife) as Sergeant Terry Howard.  Doesn’t everyone just love the nicknames?

NYC 22 premieres Sunday, April 15th on CBS.

*****

What do you think?  Do you plan to watch any of these new programs?  Which show has the most promise and why?  The least?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – The Titter Factor: Dazed and Confused

Will audiences ever tire of watching high school comedies and satires?  Probably not.  After all, we all survived the glory years, so why not reminisce?  Some of us were geeks, some were popular, but we can all relate to certain teenage characteristics one way or another. 

The Titter Factor has already revisited the nineties classic, Clueless; but in order to truly appreciate the high school movie greats, we still plan to ride the wave with Jeff Spicoli in the Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  But today, we remember the late seventies with the 1993 hit that left us Dazed and Confused.

First, we have to discuss the music.  It all starts with the music, and Dazed and Confused opens with the all-time great “Sweet Emotions” by Aerosmith.  Only the best films take us back in time with excellent tunes. 

The Dazed and Confused soundtrack continues to do just that with classic hits including:  “Slow Ride” by Foghat, “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper, “Tush” by ZZ Top, “Love Hurts” by Nazareth, “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss, and “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  The movie’s soundtrack was so red-hot, that a second album followed in 1994 leaving us Even More Dazed and Confused featuring Edgar Winter Group, The Steve Miller Band, Peter Frampton, and more Alice Cooper and ZZ Top.

Next, it’s all about the cast.  Writer and Director Richard Linklater hired mostly unfamiliar actors at the time to star in his film depicting a group of Lee High School Fighting Rebel seniors hazing the incoming freshman in a small Texas town back in 1976

The Seniors

Randall “Pink” Floyd played by Jason London (not to be confused with his twin brother Jeremy) – the football quarterback experiencing a bit of an identity crisis.  Should Pink do drugs and party the summer before his senior year, or sign the football team’s pledge that he will not do anything to jeopardize the team?  He makes his decision late one night at the 50-yard line when he calls out his play, “Marijuana on one; Reefer on two.” 

Slater played by Rory Cochrane (CSI Miami) – most of the seniors smoke marijuana in the movie, but Slater is THE stoner of the group.  He loves calling “Shot Gun!” as they drive around town and he rarely leaves the scene without saying, “Check ya later!”

David Wooderson played by Matthew McConaughey (yes, THE Matthew McConaughey) – the token graduate still hanging around with the high school crowd.  He loves his Chevelle and he loves women, particularly the fact that while he gets older, the high school girls “stay the same age.”  He steals the show with his tight orange pants, his soft repetitive laugh, and his famous line, “Alright, Alright, Alright.” 

Fred O’Bannion played by Ben Affleck (yes, THE Ben Affleck; is there an echo in here?) – the repeat senior, the “tool” of the group.  He’s not only oblivious to the fact that it’s not cool to flunk, he actually looks forward to hazing another class of incoming freshmen.  Loser.

Darla Marks played by Parker Posey (Scream 3) – the Queen “B”; the senior girl itching to stake her claim as LHS royalty.  Darla’s character had some of the film’s best lines: “Lick me, all of you!” and “Wipe that face off your head b*#$%.”  Posey’s comedic timing is impeccable, and her stumble at the kegger while trying to be cool has honestly happened to the best of us.  “Air raid!”

Other seniors include: Mike Newhouse played by Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan); Don Dawson played by Sasha Jenson (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers); Benny O’Donnell played by Cole Hauser (Chase); Michelle played by Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil movies); Simone played by Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy); and Tony played by Anthony Rapp (RENT).

We recognize many of these names today, don’t we? 

The Freshmen

Mitch Kramer played by Wiley Wiggins – little brother of Jodi Kramer (Michelle Burke, Coneheads), Pink’s girlfriend.  Mitch not only endures the worst beating by the seniors, but his courage earns him an invite to join Pink and the boys at the big keg party.

Sabrina Davis played by Christin Hinojosa – random freshman girl picked up by Jodi Kramer to participate in the hazing activities.  Her go-with-the-flow attitude also scores her an invitation to join the seniors later that night.

There are other freshmen in the movie like Kevin (Shawn Andrews) and Carl (Esteban Powell), but the movie primarily focuses on the senior class.

Finally, where would a movie be without a good story?

We watch as the seniors drive around town, cruise up and down the strip, hang out at the drive-in, play pool, drink beer and go one beer runs, smoke cigarettes (and a bit of pot), and smash mailboxes with a baseball bat, all while making their way to the party at the Moon Tower and to purchase Aerosmith concert tickets. 

Most of us can relate to the “nerd” crowd attempting to fit in with the “cool” crowd, to the “fresh meat” trying to outsmart the seniors and survive the traditional hazing night, and to the ugly effects of what it feels like to have partied all night long. 

Dazed and Confused is a cult classic

Grab your favorite paddle, and….

 “Fry like bacon you little freshmen piggies.  Fry!  Fry!”  {Simone}

And, just….

“Keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.” {Wooderson}

Have you seen Dazed and Confused?  Which character is your favorite or can you relate to the most? What are some of your favorite quotes from the movie?   Have you played the popular drinking game while watching the film (taking a shot each time Mitch touches his nose)?  Were you hazed or did you haze anyone in high school/college?  What movie is your favorite flick about high school?  I’d love to hear from you!

On a personal note, in college I drove a beverage cart around a golf course in my home town.  Matthew McConaughey’s brother was a member at the club.  One weekend Matthew came to play in a tournament with his brother, and when I filled his cooler with beer, he literally said “alright, alright, alright.”  I think I turned every shade of red and it took everything to hold in my squeal.  I kid you not.  It was awesome. 

A few more fun personal facts: I graduated from Lee High School; we were the Rebels; our class of ’95 voted Dazed and Confused our class movie; and the senior girls made “Leaving you Dazed and Confused” shirts. 

As you can see, this film holds a special place in my heart.

%d bloggers like this: