Tele-Tuesday: A Pick Per Night 2012, The Funny Results

The results of our first Reader’s Choice Tele-Tuesday comedy polls are in.  Last week, we asked our readers one simple question: if you could watch only one comedy per night, what would it be?

We’re watching more comedies than ever here at The Ooo Factor.  While some of our favorite veteran comedies still air today, we may have a different favorite that has taken over on that particular night of the week, and we feel an obligation to update our readers with the 2012 choices.

Did the Tele-Tuesday readers agree with our picks?  Find out today in A Pick Per Night 2012: The Comedies.

Sunday: Other

For us at The Ooo Factor, comedy on Sunday night means Showtime.  And lately, our top choice is Californication.

Hank Moody (David Duchovny) has never met a drug or a woman that he doesn’t love.  Pair that with his recurring writer’s block, and Hank’s life is a disaster just waiting to happen.

The show starts after Hank, and his baby’s momma, Karen (Natascha McElhone) move with their daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin) from New York to Los Angeles.  Joining the Moody clan, is Hanks’ agent/BFF, Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler), and his wife, Marcy (Pamela Adlon), a waxing professional to the stars.

Hank’s successful novel was adapted into a screenplay much to his dismay, and feeling down-n-out, he picks up a hot Mia (Madeline Zima) in a local LA bookstore and beds her.  That is, after all, what Hank Moody does — he beds beautiful women with his alluring charm.  During sex, Mia punches Hank in the face; not long after “the punch,” Hank discovers that Mia is the 16 year old daughter of Karen’s new fiancé.  And, there we have the setting for all five seasons thus far.

Californication is pure brilliance, but raunchy.  One of the most unforgettable scenes took place early in Season 1… let’s just say it involved Hank and Charlie in bed, with a “shooter.”  Watch with caution…. but be prepared to laugh and cry!  In Season 2, Hank is hired to write the biography of a rock star (Callum Keith Rennie) — just what Hank needs, an invitation to party like a rock star! In Season 3, Hank is hired as a college professor — that’s definitely a disaster waiting to happen! One of our favorite laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-our-face scenes aired in Season 4 with the entire cast of characters sitting around Stu’s (Stephen Tobolowsky) dinner table.  Season 5 just ended Sunday night with Hank and Karen hot on the mend of what could be “happily ever after” until one of Hank’s crazy exes shows up and drugs him – classic Californication cliffhanger!!

Reader’s Choice:  Family Guy came in first with 30% of the reader’s vote, with The Simpsons following close behind with 26%.  Is anyone else with us who can’t believe The Simpsons is still on air, airing new episodes?  How many seasons is this?  CRAZY!

Monday: 2 Broke Girls

First we have Max (Kat Dennings) — Manhattan nanny by day and Brooklyn diner waitress by night.  Max has control of her life, a life that’s not extravagant by any means; she has her own apartment, boyfriend, and overall seems happy.  That is until the diner hires a blonde, dressed like she owns the place, to share shifts with her.

Next we meet Caroline (Beth Behrs) — a former Manhattan socialite who has lost everything courtesy of her father’s Ponzi scheme.  Caroline runs away from her life, not that she has a choice, and chooses Brooklyn as her new residence (because according to a Google search, Brooklyn is the least likely place anyone from her former circle visits).

Caroline doesn’t need or use her Ivy-league education and her business and marketing background to wait tables, until she discovers the diner is not selling the tasty cupcakes for enough money — Max’s cupcakes.  Caroline knows that in the city, people will pay $7-$10 a cupcake, and she begins pocketing some extra cash and creates a business plan.  Now, all she needs is Max to hop on board.

Although it’s very difficult for her to do, Max invites Caroline to stay with her.  After a boyfriend mishap, the two bond and despite Max’s constant put-downs, the girls plan to start a new life together and open a cupcakery — Max is the talent and Caroline is the brains.  We’ve seen both characters grow during the first half of season one, even if their cupcake funds haven’t (at the end of each episode, the cupcake savings tallies on the screen for the audience – the girls have a long way to go to reach $250,000).

We only set the pilot of 2 Broke Girls to record so we could say, “We checked it out.”  After all, the sitcom is created by Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) and comedian Whitney Cummings, and it fills a very popular time slot between CBS’ How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.   But after only one episode, we returned to the series option on the DVR and updated the recording to grab all of the new episodes.   Even the man of the house has watched a few episodes and laughs out loud, even if he won’t admit it.

Reader’s Choice: How I Met Your Mother came in first with 35% of the vote.  We’re also big HIMYM fans here at Tele-Tuesday, but our previous Monday night favorite was bumped this year for multiple reasons.

#1 – Many of the 2011-2012 episodes have ended on a very sad note; we thought this was supposed to be a comedy?
#2 – Maybe, just maybe, the writers are dragging out the story of how Ted meets his kids’ mother a bit too long?
#3 – We laugh out-loud at 2 Broke Girls more than we do at HIMYM, including Barney’s classic ‘isms.

Tuesday: New Girl

New Girl stars Zooey Deschanel  as Jess Day, a likeable young teacher piecing together her life after a breakup.  Many words can be used to describe Jess: adorable, goofy, vulnerable, faithful, awkward, and offbeat — or as Fox advertises, adorakable.

She finds a “roommate wanted” situation via Craig’s List and moves in with three single men — the bartender Nick (Jake Johnson), the Casanova-like Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and the former European basketball star, Winston (Lamorne Morris).   The men, and Jess’ best friend Cece (Hannah Simone) help teach Jess and themselves all about life, love, and the ever-important self.

The opening number of New Girl is the only introduction that literally has us bobbing our heads back and forth and singing along with it.  That may not be a reason to watch a television show, but it surely doesn’t hurt.  “Hey, girl!  What’cha doin’?”  …  “Who’s that girl?  Who’s that girl?  It’s JESS!”  Okay, so everyone probably needs to hear the music to enjoy along with us.

That said, every single one of the actors and actresses in New Girl has beautiful comedic timing.  Zooey Deschanel tops the funny chart, with Jake Johnson (Nick) following close behind.  But who steals the show?  Max Greenfield (Schmidt).

Schmidt is a mess!  Is he gay?  No; he’s straight and he beds many beautiful women (including Jess’ best friend, Cece — but that’s a secret, for now).  Just when viewers are convinced Schmidt is straight, he makes some other comment or action that leads us to believe he’s gay.  Does it matter?  Absolutely not!  Is he believable in both roles?  Yes!  Do we love his “Schmidtisms”?  Without a doubt!!

But most of all, New Girl portrays life as it is — not simple, not full of hand-outs, and always in motion.  The friendships between the characters serves as the glue that holds everything together, but the character growth may be the “it” factor that keeps New Girl around for a long time…

Reader’s Choice: None came in first with 43% of the vote.

Yikes!!  So if no one is watching a sitcom on Tuesday nights, may we recommend New Girl?  Seriously.  Where are our New Girl fans?  Talk it up in the comments and maybe, just maybe, we can convert some viewers!

Wednesday: Whitney

Developed, written, and starring comedian Whitney Cummings, Whitney follows the fictionalized story of her life experiences, challenges in relationships we can all relate to — like cohabitation, friendships, secrets, and boundaries.  Whitney lives with her long-term boyfriend, Alex (Chris D’Elia), and the non-traditional couple sees no reason to get married, but remains happily ever after nonetheless.

The duo is surrounded by their friends: Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones), who believes in happily ever after, Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn), a relationship cynic, Neal (Maulik Pancholy) who appears to be in a perfect relationship with Lily but later decides he may actually like men instead, and Mark (Dan O’Brien), the self-proclaimed ultimate bachelor.

Each week, we laugh throughout the thirty minute series.  Whitney is perfect viewing for couples to watch together.  One of our favorite episodes is when Whitney walks in on Alex’s “alone” time (trying to keep the blog clean here…).

Needless to say, Alex was and is completely mortified, and Whitney begins knocking on her own apartment door to announce when she arrives home each time after the incident.  The episode continues as Whitney confesses the day’s events to her friends, further embarrassing Alex.

Which brings us to the relatable part: what’s safe to share with outsiders, even those we love the most, when working through moments that take place between lovers and partners?

This sitcom might perhaps evoke more giggles in our house than our previous favorite (How I Met Your Mother), courtesy of the relatability and laugh factors for men and women alike.

Reader’s Choice:  South Park came in first with 25% of the vote, with Modern Family at a close second with 21%.

First of all, this is shocking.  While we do like South Park, we are floored that more people didn’t vote for Modern Family.  We really, really thought it would be the show to beat.

Wednesday was the toughest of the days to choose from for us at Tele-Tuesday.  While we obviously selected Whitney from our blurb above, Suburgatory starring Jeremy Sisto deserves a mention (it came in toward the bottom with only 7% of the vote).  The relationship between George and Tess (father and daughter) is touching, but the real Ooo Factor love goes to screen-stealers Dallas (Cheryl Hines) and Noah (Alan Tudyk).  Only 7% of the vote….  Where’s our Suburgatory fan club?  Will someone join us in trying to convince our readers to check it out?

Thursday: Archer

Not offended by South Park? Love to watch Family Guy? FX has introduced Archer – pure animation brilliance.  Meet ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service):

Sterling Archer — an alcoholic, sex crazed secret agent, who also happens to be a breast cancer survivor (Team Rampage!).  Think James Bond meets Hank Moody…

Malory Archer — Archer’s alcoholic, nymphomaniac mother/boss, whose apparent affair with the leader of the KGB resulted in Archer’s birth (although we’re still awaiting confirmation).   Think Miss Moneypenny…

Lana Kane — Archer’s sexy bombshell ex-girlfriend/partner who wants to be #1, and always wears her machine gun around her shoulder like a purse .   Think Lara Croft…

Cheryl — ISIS’ billionaire secretary with an S&M fetish.

Pam — The Human Resource director and head-gossip, who is as sex crazed as the rest of the team.

Archer’s 30-minutes of raunchy humor are an absolute must see!  I mentioned raunchy, right?

Archer is also the only one of the comedies that actually made our A Pick Per Night 2011 list.  And here it is again, staying strong in 2012.  Seems it has something going for it…

Reader’s Choice: The Big Bang Theory came in first with 63% of the total vote.  This is the largest winning margin than any other show (comedy or drama).  Now this, we expected…

Did your favorite comedy win?  If not, what is it and tell us why it should have?  For those that love New Girl and Suburgatory, share with us why others should check these two new sitcoms out!  We’d love to hear from you! 

 

Tele-Tuesday: Reader’s Pick Per Night, The Comedy Polls

A few weeks ago, the Tele-Tuesday readers had the chance to vote on which television dramas they can’t live without in a Pick Per Night 2012.  Today, we want to know which comedies reign supreme.

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 this new thing called midseason replacements.  Comedy seems to be at the top of this year’s midseason replacements with sitcoms such as Bent and the upcoming Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and Best Friends Forever.

And while the constant change to our network favorites continues to waffle, we must remember one thing — to laugh.

We’re watching more comedies than ever here at The Ooo Factor.  While some of our favorite veteran sitcoms still air today, we may have a different favorite that has taken over on a particular night of the week and we feel an obligation to update our readers with our 2012 choices.  But before we do, we’d like to know what everyone else watches.

If you could choose only one comedy per night, what would it be?

We’re omitting Friday and Saturday from the polls because there doesn’t appear to be any sitcoms on during the prime time hours.  Whatever happened to TGIF?  Remember those days?

Did your favorite comedy make the list?  If not, what is it?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Next week, we will announce what our viewers prefer to watch and what we here at Tele-Tuesday mark as our #1 must watch funny program in a Pick Per Night 2012: the Comedies.

 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Where We Are Today…

It’s that time of year when the networks are adding even more new programming to our already full TV plates.  But before we get started on the New Year in Review, Amber West and I decided to recap our 2011 Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday ratings, from best to worst.

While I’m not quite sure where everyone else stands, this crazy television and food obsessed girl has gained her share of comfort weight over the past thirty weeks – figuratively, of course.  Thirty weeks — it seems a bit unreal that WatchWed has been around that long.  Add up the time and count the amount of MacNCheese and Junk Food TV that we’ve reviewed, the added pounds become a bit easier to understand.

First, let’s take a quick look at the 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

Some of the ratings have been around since Watch Wednesday opened its doors for business, but our palates became a bit more refined over time and it took watching a few series to understand we didn’t quite have the proper scale in place.  After considerable thought, we added Gourmet MacNCheese TV, Twice Baked Potato TV, and NyQuil Induced Viewing TV to the menu.   After all, a good chef always tweaks his or her recipes depending on the comment cards left behind by the diners, right?

It makes the most sense to begin with our favorites, the best of the best – the GTV (Gourmet TV) rated programs.  Leading the way for this television viewer will always be Criminal Minds, Bones, and Burn Notice.  Not one of these shows can sit on the DVR for more than an hour without burning a hole in the table cloth – they are that hot.

That’s not to say other plates didn’t also deserve a top-nod, including Blue Bloods, and our favorite cons on Leverage and White Collar.  And, believe it or not, there are many other programs that fit into this category that we’ve yet to review (and our explanations are Justified).

But who can afford a bone-in filet, horseradish mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and a glass of $100 wine with every meal?  It appears not Fox, since our GTV alternate reality favorite, Fringe, is on the rocks.  Or rumor has it anyway…

Back to the more affordable dishes…

Most of us enjoy a homemade meatloaf with the rich and creamy guilty pleasure Velveeta Shells & Cheese (also known as MacTV, MacNCheese TV) on the average night.

And what goes better with this more affordable meal than the fantastic new supernatural series, Grimm; the action packed scenes, beautiful scenery, and the leading man eye-candy of Hawaii Five-o (that’s Alex O’Loughlin for anyone who may not already know); as well as the two new rookie programs that have both been renewed for a second season: Suits and Franklin & Bash?

Seriously – try it.  Curl up on the sofa with a warm bowl of the cheesy favorite, and check out one of these programs.  They’ll promise to fill you and leave you satisfied, wanting more.

Before we eat the last bite, we must pay our respects to the MacTV great that has given us eight seasons of laughter, tears, mystery, intrigue, and drama – the REAL housewives of Wisteria Lane, the Desperate Housewives.  It won’t be long before the housewives leave us forever, well until syndication anyway.

Moving on…

Because this girl likes to enjoy a few meals while reminiscing about the good ol’ days of high school, Pretty Little Liars and MTV’s surprising hit, Teen Wolf, also satisfy the carb-craving that everyone needs filled every once in a while (the mystery and intrigue of these YA series doesn’t hurt either).

And for the nights when cooking just doesn’t quite seem like an option, there’s always that trusty bag of greasy potato chips we keep hidden in the pantry.

Television’s equivalent to the JFTV (Junk Food TV) bag of tasty goodness is the same – it’s not the best thing in the world for us, but we must have more than one episode: Unforgettable, Being Human, Law & Order: SVU, Warehouse 13, and the late TNT drama, Memphis Beat.

Yes, Jason Lee’s blues singing detective show has been cancelled, but don’t worry – he’s joined the cast of another JFTV show and returned to his comedic roots in Up All Night.

Next are the days when we really just need something to fill our bellies and ruin our cholesterol, much like a Twice Baked Potato (TBPTV). 

For days like these, we have the AMC original hit, The Walking Dead.  This post-zombie-apocalyptic television series fills the supernatural undead void we’ve had for years (although a particular someone in this house is still waiting for the Frankenstein monster television program before he’s perfectly satisfied).  The survivors working together to make the most of a bad situation makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  And then the bloating feeling hits us like a ton of bricks, proving the show isn’t the best thing out there for us – but it sure is fun to savor while it lasts.

Perhaps tasty, warm, fuzzy, and savor aren’t the best words to use when describing a zombie television show, but we think it gets the point across.

And sadly, we left one program Still Simmering (SSTV) on the back burner and completely forgot to pay more attention to it, but we will…especially since Alphas was picked up for a second season.  For this, our readers have our deepest apologies.  The re-review will come in time before the premiere of season two on SyFy, promise.

All this serious talk may lead one to believe we’re all business around Watch Wednesday, but we’re not.  We love to laugh too, and a few of the network funnies received the same critical reviews as the dramas.

Hindsight is always 20/20, therefore we need to re-file the one MacTV rated sitcom (How I Met Your Mother) into the JFTV rating list along with Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls.  For some reason, HIMYM has its viewers crying at the end of episodes instead of laughing here recently, which kind of defeats the purpose of the sitcom and explains the need for the downgrade – something just isn’t the same.

And just like my dinner plate, there will be no Liver and Onions TV (LOTV) for the audience today, and hopefully not anytime soon.  Yuck!

Okay, that is a ton of television.  I didn’t even include the reviews of a few of my Netflix and marathon-style TV favorites (MacTV Charmed and Tru Calling, as well as the Gourmet TV Twin Peaks and Moonlight).  Does anyone notice the Alex O’Loughlin trend?

It’s a lot to take in, but tell us:

What do you think?  Which shows already in progress need to be in our list? Are there any new shows that you are looking forward to?  We’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and catch up on where her reviews sit to date.

Come back next week when Amber and I begin the new season of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

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.

Why It’s Worth A Watch Wednesday – Battle of the Network Funnies

This week, Amber West and I review a few of the more established comedies on NBC and CBS in a Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Battle of the Network Funnies.

Who will win:  Monday nights on CBS with How I Met Your Mother and Two and Half Men or Thursday nights on NBC with Parks and Recreation and Community?

We begin with the popular sitcom, How I Met Your Mother.  Commonly abbreviated to HIMYM, the series follows the main character Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) as he narrates to his children in the year 2030 the story of how he met their mother.  Well, Josh doesn’t narrate, Bob Saget does. 

Although we’re seven seasons in, we still haven’t met the mother of Ted’s children; but we have grown to love his best friends:  Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), Marshall Erikson (Jason Segel), and Lily Aldrin Erickson (Alyson Hannigan). 

HIMYM has a true ensemble cast as each character plays just as important a role as Ted.  But why do we really love this show? 

There are the character quirks including: Barney’s womanizing ways with his “hot/crazy” scale, or his “Bro Code” justifications, or even his insisting everyone “suit up” before they go out on the town; Robin’s extensive misuse of the word ‘literally’; and Ted’s constant romantic gestures as he looks for love, including stealing a blue French horn for Robin during their courtship.

There are the enduring moments like when Ted finds out his parents are divorced; or when Marshall struggles with the decision to take a position as a corporate lawyer instead of working for an environmental cause; or when Barney sets out on a mission to learn the true identity of his father (once he discovers Bob Barker is indeed not his biological dad).

There is the comedy: Robin’s teenage Canadian pop-band flashbacks; Marshall and Barney’s on-going Slap game (Marshall earned five free slaps, and he saves them for when Barney least expects it); and the group’s hilarious interventions for one another.

But, most importantly, we love the realistic friendships between all of the characters.  We’re watching as these friends experience life together; as they celebrate Lily and Marshall’s pregnancy; as they mourn the loss of Marshall’s father; and as they bounce back from multiple broken romantic relationships.

It’s reasons like these that I award How I Met Your Mother with a MacTV rating.  As far as sitcoms go, it ranks among the best available on TV today.  Can the show survive many more seasons?  Probably not.  But will we tune in until Ted meets the mother of his children.  Absolutely. 

Oh, and before we move on, HIMYM hosts guest stars galore: Regis Philbin, Katie Holmes, Wayne Brady, Enrique Iglesias, Sarah Chalke, Britney Spears, Rachel Bilson, Jennifer Morrison, Kyle MacLachlan, John Lithgow, Kal Penn, and Martin Short just to name a few.

How I Met Your Mother is “Legen…wait for it…dary.”

A half hour later on CBS, another sitcom veteran airs on millions of television sets across the globe with Two and a Half Men.  Definitely not as enduring as HIMYM, Two and a Half Men promises comedy a bit more raunchy than anything else on TV (Archer wins most raunchy).

For the first eight seasons, Men starred Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper, the wealthy and drunken songwriter who opens his Malibu beach house to his recently divorced brother (Alan Harper played by Jon Cryer) and nephew (Jake Harper played by Angus T. Jones). 

The series follows Charlie’s sexual escapades, Alan’s incessant need to mooch off of his brother, and Jake’s hilarious adventures through childhood and the teenage years.   But, despite the title, Two and a Half Men wouldn’t be the same without the women: Alan’s ex-wife Judith (Marin Hinkle); Charlie’s foul-mouthed housekeeper Berta (Conchata Ferrell); the Charlie obsessed next door neighbor Rose (Melanie Lynskey); and the Harper matriarch, Evelyn (Holland Taylor). 

Speaking of women, the Harper brothers have dated a few familiar females over the years including Courtney Thorne-Smith, Judy Greer, and Jenny McCarthy.  Ironically, the most fruitful male/female relationship on the show is between Charlie and his therapist (played by Jane Lynch). 

We didn’t watch Men religiously until we caught the show in syndication.  For many Saturdays in a row, we sat and caught up with the Harpers, laughter guaranteed in each episode.  But, sadly, a few real life mishaps forced the show’s creator to kill off the character of Charlie and replace him with a fresh face: Ashton Kutcher. 

Season nine begins at Charlie’s funeral – and BRAVO Chuck Lorre and other Men writers.  The funeral scene was absolutely brilliant.  Many past guest stars return and ex-girlfriends applaud Charlie’s death (in a respectful, yet Charlie Harper deserved way).  The best of the half hour was undoubtedly the return of Rose and her eulogy, or was it a confession? 

After the funeral, Alan reluctantly prepares to move out of the house he can no longer afford without his brother’s money.  Suddenly, there is a wet, sad man standing on his patio.  Alan opens the door, literally and figuratively, when he meets Walden Schmidt (Kutcher) after an attempted suicide in the ocean. 

It just so happens that Walden is rich like Charlie, and agrees to buy the beach house.  Before we know it, he hires Berta to stay on as his housekeeper and he also invites Alan to move in for as long as necessary. 

Same story, new characters.

Some like the change, some don’t.  But, the new direction was enough to bring Men back to our DVR and we haven’t removed the future recording setting just yet.  For that, I award Two and a Half Men the JFTV rating.  The series isn’t great for us, but we keep digging our hand right back down into that greasy bag of chips.  Heck, before we know it, we’ll probably suffer chest pains much like Charlie’s character on multiple occasions. 

So, what do you think?  Do you watch HIMYM or Two and a Half Men?  Which network airs the best comedies: CBS or NBC? How much longer can the series last before Ted meets his future wife?  Do you like the addition of Ashton Kutcher on Men?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of NBC’s Thursday night laughs, Parks and Recreation and Community

Come back next week when Amber and I review AMC’s Mad Men and The Walking Dead.

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
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Here a Laugh, There a Laugh

This week, Amber West and I are laughing up a storm over the new comedies on TV, and we’re sharing a double dose of laughter with our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of Suburgatory, New Girl, Up All Night, and 2 Broke Girls

Up All Night

Reagan and Chris Brinkley have it all – good looks, great jobs, exciting night lives, and most importantly, a healthy and loving relationship.  Reagan (Christina Applegate, Married with Children) produces her best friend’s Oprah-like talk show and Chris (Will Arnett, Saturday Night Live) is on his way to partner at his law firm.  Their successful careers are right on schedule, that is until their life changes forever with a simple announcement –they’re pregnant.

The Brinkleys refuse to think that things are going to change, but they are in for a big surprise.  It all starts when the birthing plan is thrown out the window the second they arrive at the hospital: Reagan’s water breaks at the studio, so she doesn’t have her overnight bag and favorite headband; their doctor is busy with another delivery and isn’t available to them; and the natural delivery just isn’t working so Reagan goes in for a c-section.  Despite all of the chaos, baby Amy arrives. 

After the baby arrives, the struggles continue as Reagan and Chris battle insomnia, attempt to clean up their language, and insist on not losing their “cool” personas, their sexy bodies, and their super sporty car.  They try, but they can’t avoid the inevitable.    

Let’s not forget about Reagan’s best friend and boss, Ava (Maya Rudolph, Bridesmaids).  While she undoubtedly loves Reagan, Ava doesn’t understand when the world doesn’t revolve around her – but not in a bad way, in a funny way.  Ava’s a mess; and Reagan holds her together, which is why when Reagan takes maternity leave, Ava is lost. 

We don’t watch many thirty minute sitcoms in our house, but couldn’t resist the urge to try Christina Applegate’s return to TV.  It didn’t hurt that we’re both huge SNL fans and love Maya Rudolph.  Preconceived notions aside, I can’t help but award Up All Night with a JFTV rating – it satisfies like a Snickers. 

Up All Night keeps the laughs coming, and anyone trying to maintain any kind of balance with children will enjoy.    

2 Broke Girls

Meet Max (Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) – Manhattan nanny by day and Brooklyn diner waitress by night.  Max has control of her life, a life that’s not extravagant by any means; she has her own apartment, boyfriend, and overall seems happy.  That is until the diner hires a blonde, dressed like she owns the place, to share shifts with her. 

Meet Caroline (Beth Behrs) – a former Manhattan socialite who has lost everything courtesy of her father’s Ponzi scheme.  Caroline runs away from her life, not that she has a choice, and chooses Brooklyn as her new residence (because according to a Google search, Brooklyn is the least likely place anyone from her former circle visits). 

Caroline doesn’t need or use her Ivy-league education and her business and marketing background to wait tables, until she discovers the diner is not selling the tasty cupcakes for enough money – Max’s cupcakes.  Caroline knows that in the city, people will pay $7-$10 a cupcake, and she begins pocketing some extra cash and creates a business plan.  Now, all she needs is Max to hop on board.

Although it’s very difficult for her to do, Max invites Caroline to stay with her.  After a boyfriend mishap, the two bond and despite Max’s constant put-downs, the girls plan to start a new life together and open a cupcakery – Max is the talent and Caroline is the brains.  In just a few episodes, we’ve seen both characters grow, even if their cupcake funds haven’t (at the end of each episode, the cupcake savings tallies on the screen for the audience – the girls have a long way to go to reach $250,000).   

Let’s be honest, I only set the pilot of 2 Broke Girls to record so I could say, “I checked it out.”  After all, the sitcom is created by Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) and comedian Whitney Cummings, and it fills a very popular time slot between CBS’ How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.   

But, after only one episode, I returned to the series option on the DVR and updated the recording to grab all of the new episodes.   Even the man of the house has watched a few episodes with me and laughs out loud (even if he won’t admit it).   

For this, I must award 2 Broke Girls with my second JFTV rating of the day, especially since each episode centers around diner food and cupcakes.  The actresses have great chemistry and comedic timing, and the audience can’t help but root for the two to open their boutique cupcakery with Chestnut (the horse) hanging around outside.

All this talk about cupcakes has me drooling!

What do you think? Have you watched Up All Night or 2 Broke Girls?   Can you relate to any of the characters?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Jeremy Sisto’s suburban-purgatory, or Suburgatory, and the “adorakable” New Girl, Zooey Deschanel, for a few more must-see laughs. 

Need another reason to watch?  All of these shows have been picked up!

Come back next week when Amber and I curl up with TV’s new dramas based on popular fairytales: Grimm and Once Upon a Time.  

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
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Converting Bad Cons to Good

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!  Today, Amber West and I continue reviewing the hit programs on TNT and USA.  Each network has a con and a medical story to tell, and we break them down in today’s special quadruple edition.   

Can a con-man change to good? 

TNT and USA think so!  Both networks have hit summer programs featuring some of the most likable con-men on television.  While each con might have to resort to their old ways in order to bring down an even worse foe, they all fight the good cause and do what’s best for mankind and to uphold the law. 

 Leverage – Sunday nights on TNT

The Leverage team consists of a group of criminals turned do-gooders that utilize their specialized skills to avenge those harmed by the wealthy and/or powerful.  Each character has his or her own flaw which helps the viewers understand their passion behind the individual cases they accept. 

Nate Ford (Academy Award winner, Timothy Hutton), “The Mastermind” – Nate leads this team of otherwise misfits.  He battles alcoholism trying to recover from the death of his son, which in turn cost him his marriage and his job as an insurance investigator.  Nate selects the team’s clients, and he uses his skills to anticipate the movement of the con’s marks while the rest of his team is in play.

Sophie (Gina Bellman, Coupling), “The Grifter” – Sophie is Nate’s right hand.  She has secrets that even the audience is still trying to figure out: is she royalty? Is she married? Or is she just a great actress? Well, maybe she’s not as great on stage as she is at playing the marks of the con.  And, what is her real name for crying out loud?

Now to the “side-kicks”, without whom, the show would not be the same.

Eliot (Christian Kane, Angel), “The Hitter” – Eliot has a bit of an anger-management problem: he loves to punch and kick, but he refrains from using guns as much as possible.  Eliot’s number one job is to protect the team; but, sometimes he takes on a character role that showcases his intelligence, and not just his muscle, in order to complete the con.

Hardison (Aldis Hodge, Friday Night Lights), “The Hacker” – Like one might assume, Hardison loves his computers, technology, and “Lucille,” his thoroughly pimped out techie van.  He has designed the team’s headquarters twice now (they had to blow the first office up to hide their identities), and the specialized equipment the team uses on each case. 

Parker (Beth Reisgraf, multiple TV appearances in shows like How I Met Your Mother and My Name is Earl), “The Thief” – Moving from foster home to foster home, Parker lacks many social skills, but might just have the biggest heart of all the cons.  One might think that Parker lacks empathy, but when she’s emotionally involved in a case, she’ll stop at nothing to take down the bad guys.  Parker is one of the best thieves around, and her supreme safe cracking skills and her extreme acrobatics make her crucial to every case.

The Leverage team gets it done, and I grant my second GTV (Gourmet TV) rating of the season: Leverage gives us everything we want and more.

White Collar – Tuesday nights on USA

Meet Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer, from Chuck and Tru Calling), a suave and sexy professional con-artist captured by FBI agent, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). 

Season one opens with Peter releasing Neal from prison under the strict supervision of an ankle monitor, AND one condition: Neal must use his criminal expertise to assist the White Collar division of the FBI in capturing bad guys. 

Neal enlists the help of his fellow con-man, Mozzie (Willie Garson, aka Stanford Blatch from Sex and the City), who despite his distrust of the government, stands by his friend’s side and builds his own relationship with Peter and Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (played by Tiffani Theissen, Saved by the Bell and the real 90210). 

In addition to solving a new FBI case each week, Neal focuses on discovering the truth behind his girlfriend Kate’s disappearance.  Neal continues his search while everyone, including Peter and his FBI right-hand Diana (Marsha Thomason from Vegas), investigates Kate’s story on their own, each hoping to bring closure to Neal’s heartache. 

White Collar builds fun and heartfelt character relationships: Peter/Neal, Peter/Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Neal, Elizabeth/Mozzie, Neal/Alex (another of Neal’s con-buddies played by Gloria Votsis), and Neal/Sara (insurance investigator/Neal’s current love interest played by Hilarie Burton). 

Season 2 ends with Neal’s previous mentor turned nemesis, Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy best known from his 80’s hits Pretty in Pink, and St. Elmo’s Fire) escaping once again after the U-Boat treasure that Neal and Peter helped reveal, goes up in flames. 

Or does it? Neal is a con, remember. 

Will Neal flee with Mozzie and claim their fortune? Or will he stay and continue his new life helping the FBI catch other cons?  He is a great asset for the Feds…and our television screens!

This has never been done before, but I grant White Collar another GTV (Gourmet TV) rating of the season: it has everything we want and more. 

That’s two in one post!

Did I mention that Neal is sexy?  Neal’s piercing baby blues and charming smile illuminate in combination with his dapper tailored suits and his Fedora hat. 

Do you agree with my double GTV ratings this week?  Are you a Leverage or White Collar fan?  Would Leverage be worthy of a GTV rating without Eliot, Hardison, and Parker?  Will Neal stay or will Peter have to arrest him yet again?  I’d love to hear from you!

Did someone call a doctor?

Now click over to Amber’s review of this summer’s medical programs: TNT’s HawthoRNe and USA’s Royal Pains.  What will she rate two of the networks biggest hits?

Come back next week for a special recap edition as Amber and I revisit our earlier Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews. What are we still watching?  Have our opinions changed? 

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.  We’re currently working on our August and September schedule and would love to chat with you!

Last, but certainly not least, did your favorite TV shows make the Emmy nomination categories?  Vote here for the 1st annual Tamberny awards.  Leave a comment by July 29th and you could win blog linkage on my special Tele-Tuesday Siskel and Ebert style Emmy breakdown where Amber and I promise to not agree!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

 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

JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds

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