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

Tele-Tuesday: The Continuation of The Tamberny Awards

The Tamberny Awards are back!  Amber West and I didn’t like the idea of having the music play over our best banter or having some leggy model lead us off stage, so we stepped away for a bit to cut to the necessary commercial break.  Now, here we are, with the rest of our choices.

Isn’t it thrilling?  Can you feel the tension in the air?  

*****

First up, a category we can really get into… 

Lead Actor in a Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

A: As far as I can remember, good ol Hugh has been nominated but not won the Emmy for House.  I think he does a great job in the role; so after all this time, I’d like to see him recognized for it. 

However, tough table to keep here.  These are all great actors. 

T: Hugh Laurie – brilliant.  Timothy Olyphant – brilliant.  Who will win?  Ugh, it pains me to say, but the cable channels.  I’m taking Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire.

A: Too much brilliant (and did we mention pretty?) in one category.  Steve Buscemi may get it for being brilliant AND not looking like a cover of GQ.  However, I’m still rooting for Hugh.  I got a weakness for a British funny man.  

T: As far as acting, I’m going to jump on the Hugh Laurie bandwagon real fast.  Did you see the episode this season where he performed surgery on himself in the bathtub to remove the tumors he gave himself by taking the unapproved meds from the rat lab?

 

A: YES.  Also, I should have preempted your comment with spoiler alert for those watching, but this is LIVE, baby.  Note: this is not live

Lead Actress in a Drama
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law

A: For my same underdog reasons as earlier, Julianna all the way.  If not her, Elisabeth Moss. 

T: I don’t really care for these nominations – where is Kyra Sedgwick?  I pick Kyra.

A: Maybe that means I should watch the show Kyra is in. *ducks*   

I’m still pushing for Julianna.  This category is lacking.  I blame that on poorly written roles for leading ladies.  Come on, women’s lib, catch up! 

T: Lucky for you, I’m tall and you ducked just in time!  I have season 1 of The Closer on DVD; do I need to send it to you?

A: Not yet. I still have about 100 episodes of Bones to watch because of you.  Then I’ll watch another one of your recommendations.  See you all when I’m 80. 

 

T: Back to the nominations at hand, I do Agree 1000% – this category is lacking.  Women’s roles are lacking.  Where the heck is Kyra?  Rose Byrne? Glenn Close?

A: I’ll send you some math videos when I get your episodes of The Closer.  Glenn Close for the win.  I’m writing the Emmy peeps now. 

Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family

A: I love the entire cast of Modern Family.  This show always makes me laugh, so I’d be happy with any of them.  Having said that, my views rarely reflect the majority, so it will probably go to Jon Cryer. 

Please don’t give it to Chris Colfer.  No offense, kid.  I just don’t think Glee is funny enough to be fighting in this category. 

T: Because the entire cast of Modern Family was nominated, and because of what he had to deal with this season, I’m picking Jon Cryer – 100%.  Not to mention, his comedic timing is perfect.

Oh, Ducky….

 

A: Ahem.  Remember my earlier mention of Chuck Lorre? So you can see why I’m not going with Jon Cryer.  Although, I like HIM and I’m sure he is great in that show that I have never and will never watch.  

T: Not even with the addition of Mr. Kutcher? Not even a peek?

A: Sweet Jeebus, no.  A thousand times no. 

I have to now quote something I heard in an interview involving Mr. Kutcher: 

“Ashton Kutcher should know every thought that goes through his head.  If he doesn’t, he’s liable to drop something, he can cut his feet, he won’t realize he’s been talking to a tree for an hour.   He needs to be aware of what he’s thinking.” 

T: Boooo, Amber!  Where did you hear that?  You realize that Ashton Kutcher is actually really smart, don’t you?  He studied biochemical engineering for crying out loud.

A:  I’m not listening.  Lalalalalala. 

Supporting Actor in a Drama
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Walton Goggins, Justified
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

A: I’m remaining loyal to The Good Wife.  Mostly to ensure that the network doesn’t get any bright ideas and try to cancel the show.  Although, using that logic, give the award to Andre Braugher so another network will grow a brain and pick up Men of a Certain Age

T: Walton Goggins!  He plays the best antagonist on TV. Without Boyd Crowder, Justified just wouldn’t the same.  And, I do love Timothy Olyphant.

A: Haven’t watched Justified!  Guess I need to try.  But I still stick with The Good Wife boys.  Josh Charles and Alan Cumming are perfect in their roles.   

T: You haven’t watched Justified?  You know that FX has some of the best programming on TV, right?

A: Meh.  Also, I now have the urge to yell “Walton Goggins” randomly when engaged in boring conversation.  

T: WALTON GOGGONS.  I yelled it, but not because we’re engaged in a boring conversation.  I may have a crush on Boyd….

Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

A: I’m kinda burnt out on Betty White.  Yes, I said that.  Sofia Vergara gets it since she has made me laugh more than the others in this category. 

T: Who will win? Probably Jane Lynch….that darn Glee.

Regardless, I am voting for Kristen Wiig here – talk about an underdog!  She is involved in almost every skit on SNL, and she makes me CRY sometimes.  Cry, good; not bad.

A: Jane Lynch IS funny.  BUT, I still don’t find Glee funny enough to be in this category.  It would be nice for an SNL person to get it, but I think it is unlikely as well.  I probably just voted for Sofia ’cause she is curvy and Latin.  Gotta represent for da’ peoples. 

T: I may let you win this one….If Modern Family wins anything, I bet it’s the hot Latin lady.

A: *dances to salsa and drinks inexcusably sweet black coffee to celebrate* 

T: Amber, stop dancing your little salsa.  We have a show to finish here!

Supporting Actress in a Drama
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified

A: What? I didn’t pick The Good Wife?  I know.  But, I think Christina Hendricks is perfect in her Mad Men role.  Go, curvy lady. 

T: Did I see a cable channel nomination?  Yep –  Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly McDonald takes it.

But, since you keep talking about underdogs, Amber, how about Michelle Forbes?  The Killing made a killing this season, but I’m not sure it will get any award love.  I’m sure they’ll say, “It was just an honor to be nominated….”

A: Again, I gotta stick with the shows I’ve actually seen. 🙂  

T: I’m just really not a fan of these nominations….

A: Not thrilled with this category either.  Again, I think that goes back to the lack of well composed female characters.  *Sigh* 

Mini-series or Made-for-Television Movie
Cinema Verite
Downton Abbey
The Kennedys
Mildred Pierce
The Pillars Of The Earth
Too Big To Fail

A: The only one I’ve seen is the one I am picking.  But, I DO love it –  Downton Abbey.  It makes me swoon.  I adore some of the characters, and others are so deliciously evil I can’t stand it. 

T: This one is up in the air – Downton Abbey has received great reviews, The Kennedys was controversial and axed from its original channel, and HBO (yep, again) rocked out with Too Big To Fail.  I have to go with it.

A: ..Downton…Downton…have you watched it YET?  How ’bout now?  

T: Not yet….it’s a period piece.  I’m not even sure our TV plays period pieces in our house.

A: Deliciously evil.  Come on.  You have to be curious? 

T: Curious, yes.  Curious enough to watch it now because I think it has a chance to beat Too Big To Fail?  No.

Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
Conan
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

A: Please, please, please, PLEASE, for the love of funny, give it to Stephen this year.  Thanks.  But I won’t cry if Conan gets it. 

T: Colbert deserves this.

A: *nods in agreement*  Stephen we love you!  

T: Should we start an “Emmy for Stephen” website?

Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or movie
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Idris Elba, Luther
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail

A: Haven’t seen ANY of these, so I’m going with Idris Elba.  That’s a pretty sweet name, and he is pretty. 

T: I’d like to see Barry Pepper win, but mainly because I like to look at him.  But, I bet you anything, William Hurt takes it for HBO’s Too Big to Fail.  He was great in Damages too.

A: *silence*  

T: Silence?  Really, Amber?

A: I am bored.  Moving on. 

Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or movie
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs

A: Downton all the way! 

T: I’m going with the underdog of all underdogs here – Taraji P. Henson.  Why?  Because almost everyone else has a BIG Hollywood name, and this movie is based on a true story.

A: I think I’ve been clear on how I feel about Downton.  🙂  

T: Really?  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow
Deadliest Catch
Hoarders
Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List
MythBusters
Undercover Boss
 

A: I don’t really like any of these.  But I do occasionally watch Hoarders in absolute horror.  And then I scrub my tub and cry. 

T: YUCK.  Do I have to pick one?  Undercover Boss.

A: Maybe we should just go with “let’s replace these shows with ones that have real writers”?  I mean, Men of a Certain Age was CANCELLED and this crap is getting nominated!?  Bah.  

T: I’m speechless.  I know my mom is writing this date down right now…I’m not speechless often.

Reality Competition
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef

A: Top Chef, but only because I’m a foodie.  I am not a huge fan of reality competitions. 

T: SurvivorBig Brother.  Oh, they’re not nominated?  The Amazing Race.  Although, I have seen some of  So You Think You Can Dance in the gym, and they’ve got talent.  But, I’m still voting for The Amazing Race. Traveling the world, experiencing new cultures and traditions, all while competing against others – great show.

A: I have heard great things about The Amazing Race.  So, I change my vote.  The Amazing Race, with a side of Top Chef.  

T: Not jumping off The Amazing Race trip here, but where’s Hell’s Kitchen?  DONKEY!

 

A: Hee.  I reluctantly admit that I watch that.  I reluctantly admit to watching any reality TV.  I kind of wish the category weren’t even here.  Having said that, at least I don’t see any “Housewives of Some Rich Place I Don’t Care About” shows nominated.  Small favors. 

T: Oh, and thank Heavens for no Jersey Shore!

A: *raises a glass* 

T: Cheers!

Host of a Reality Program or Competition
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Jeff Probst, Survivor

A: I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about Jeff that I like. 

T: Probst.  The Probster.

A: He’s so pretty. 

T: Our tribe has spoken.

*****

Well, there you have it.  Tune in to FOX September 18th for the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards to see who takes home the little statue.

 

How did your favorite show, actors, and actresses do? If not listed, write it in!  Tell us who you think should win! We’d love to hear from you.

Tele-Tuesday – The Tamberny Awards: Who should win?

Welcome to the first annual Tamberny Awards – where we can’t promise to agree!

Before we do, we want to hear from you!

From the nomination list below, who will win?

****

Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock

 ****

Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men

 ****

Lead Actress in a Comedy
Laura Linney, The Big C
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Tina Fey, 30 Rock

 ****

Lead Actor in a Comedy
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Louis C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

****

Lead Actor in a Drama

 Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

****

Lead Actress in a Drama
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law

****

Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family

****

Supporting Actor in a Drama
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Walton Goggins, Justified
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

 ****

Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

****

Supporting Actress in a Drama
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified

 ****

Mini-series or Made-for-Television Movie
Cinema Verite
Downton Abbey
The Kennedys
Mildred Pierce
The Pillars Of The Earth
Too Big To Fail

 ****

Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
Conan
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

****

Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or movie
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Idris Elba, Luther
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail

****

Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or movie
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs

****

Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow
Deadliest Catch
Hoarders
Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List
MythBusters
Undercover Boss

 ****

Reality Competition 
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef

 ****

Host of a Reality Program or Competition
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Jeff Probst, Survivor

 ****

Leave a comment before July 29th, and your vote will be included in our special!  Better yet, leave a witty contribution and win blog linkage! 

Be sure to include who you think will win, or who should win versus who will win?  Who was snubbed? Which network will walk away with the most wins? Is Modern Family worthy of all the supporting cast nominations? Why didn’t the USA Network get any Emmy love? We’d love to hear from you!

Watch for the announcement of the 1st Annual Tamberny Awards this August.  The 63rd Annual Emmy Awards airs September 18th!

 

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