Tele-Tuesday: Welcome to the Tamberny Award Show!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first annual Tamberny Awards – where we promise to not agree!

When the Emmy nominations were announced last month, writer friend Kathy Owen approached us to review the shows and announce who we thought would take home the awards.

Sounds easy enough, right?  HA!  Amber and I don’t watch the same things.  What she loves, I haven’t even heard of; and, what I watch (which is almost everything on television), she has to Netflix in order to carry on a conversation with me.

Okay, maybe it’s not so bad; after all, this may just be why our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday partnership works so well!

  Enjoy the show!

Comedy Series

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

A:  I’ll kick things off with the comedy category.  I think Parks and Recreation should take it.  Why?  Two words:  Ron Swanson. 

Ok, maybe not just for him.  I love every character on that show.  They are all flawed, in ridiculous ways, yet they are all completely lovable, too.  They do all of that AND they make me laugh.  Sometimes until I cry.  And, they gave us “awesomesauce”.  I also think they’ve had good forward momentum, unlike some comedies that are quick out of the gate then rest on their funny laurels.  (Hee, “Funny laurels”)

T:  Did you just laugh at your own joke?  *laughing, eye rolls*

While Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock are fabOoolously written, the Emmy will come down to Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory.  Do I agree with this?  No, but what can you do?

A:  You can be disagreeable.  Like me.  And yell things.  Or, at least type them in all CAPS.

T:  FINE!  Since you want to light a fire under me, 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation DESERVE to win.  But, they won’t.

The #TeleTuesday voters clearly want Modern Family to win.  Me?  Put the guns away, but I’ve never watched it.  Same with Glee.  I refuse to drink the punch…plus I watch so much on television already.  Maybe one day on Netflix?

 

A:  I forgive you on Glee.  I’m a Broadway girl, so I was on board in the beginning, but I started to burn out pretty quickly.  But Modern Family? Please.  Go watch it.  So funny.  Our readers know what they are talking about.  I’m still waving the Parks and Recreation banner, but if Modern Family wins…well, I ain’t mad at ’em. 

T:  Ya ain’t? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  You left the door wide open for that one.

Maybe I will Netflix Modern Family for you; you did watch Bones for me.

Back on topic, The Big Bang Theory on the other hand, is brilliant.  Sheldon and Leonard have brought sexy back for the geeks; well, maybe sexy isn’t the right word…

A:  I’m about to make myself unpopular.  That’s smart, right?  Don’t hate me.  I do think that The Big Bang Theory has some good one liners.  And, I get a kick out of the geek references, being a geek and all.  BUT, I think Chuck Lorre tends to write shows that pander to the masses.  Granted, there is nothing wrong with that.  But it’s just not my cup o’ tea. 

T:  Isn’t that what Lorre is supposed to do?

A:  Probably.  Also explains why I am not writing a successful TV show right now.  Before this turns into an argument, I bring you…DRAMA! 

Drama Series

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

A: I have a thing for underdogs.  They’re all cute and scruffy.  The Good Wife feels like an underdog here.  It’s one of the few “network” shows on the list; it’s been well written from episode one and the cast is incredible.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had a bit of a crush on Josh Charles since his Sports Night days. This is a solid category, though, so anyone who takes it is deserving.

T: I have to disagree with you, Amber – while I might end up eating my words, I think that the cable channels will win this one: Showtime’s Dexter is a must see, but HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones will be hard to beat.  I’m going with Game of Thrones here.

A: Dexter is amazingly well written, and I don’t have the pay channels, so I have not seen Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones.  But, I do believe I called my choice the underdog.  The likelihood of it winning is slim.  And yet, here I sit, cheering them on.  Someone has to.

T: Funny, how after two rounds of bickering, neither of us has yet to mention Mad Men as a contender here…

A: I can never remember who votes for what in the actual Emmy’s (no affiliation), but I didn’t go with Mad Med because they’ve already taken awards.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s another show that has great writing, great actors and Jon Hamm.  Mmmmm…Hammmmmm….

T: And with that, we’ve lost Amber.  Maybe we should move on.

Outstanding Animated Series

The Cleveland Show
Futurama
Robot Chicken
The Simpsons
South Park
Family Guy

A: Ahem.  I’m good.  I was just channeling Homer in preparation for this category.

I don’t watch Robot Chicken with any regularity.  Having said that, the little I have seen was funny.  And different.  And, it’s probably the least popular one on this list, in my world anyway.  The rest of them are feeling a little “old hat” for me.  

Isn’t there anything new?  Also, judging by this category, is it now a requirement to offend to be funny?  Don’t get me wrong, some of these guys do it well and are smart, but its feeling a little like no one knows how to be funny without it. 

T: South Park – while controversial, is funny!  Not many shows, especially animations with the exception of The Simpsons, can say they’ve been on the air for over 15 years.  Plus, aren’t they really just saying what so many of us wish we could, just don’t have the guts to?

A: I agree that South Park is funny.  Those dudes can write.  I mean, Book of Mormon is a roaring success for a reason.  But, I stand by the idea that you don’t HAVE to be offensive to be funny.  Having said that, you are probably correct on your choice. 

T: Wait a minute?!?! Stop the presses.  Where the heck is Archer?  Why in the world isn’t Archer nominated here?

 

A: I’ve never seen it.  That could be why.  To quote one of your picks, “Bazinga!”

T: Archer belongs on the Netflix queue, Amber….enough said.

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

A: I really want to see Amy Poehler take this.   Her show is funny.  She is funny.  Her husband is funny.  She is like an entire universe of funny.  I love her.

T: I agree with you, but I think Edie Falco takes it.  The cable channels are hard to beat when nominated…I’d even love to see a newbie take it, like Martha Plimpton or Melissa McCarthy, but I don’t see that happening.

A: I’ve heard good things about Edie in Nurse Jackie.  But I’m sticking with Amy Poehler. But, I won’t cry if Martha gets it.  She, too, is awesome. 

T: I’m just glad to see Martha resurface from her ’80s hit movies.  “Hey, you guys…”  Quick – what’s that from?

A: I am awful at that game.  Prize for the first commenter who gets it.

T: Seriously?  You don’t know what movie that quote is from? Do you need a hint?

 

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

A: Although I feel that 30 Rock is a bit lacking lately, Alec Baldwin is genius in his role.  Love him.  

T: We agree again, but I think Alec will lose.  This one goes to Sheldon.

A: Boo.  Didn’t he take this award already?  Alec…Alec…  

T: Do you know who’s not going to win from the cable channels?  Matt LeBlanc.  Was that mean?

A: Yes, yes it was.  Also, my nominee could totally take your nominee in a cage match.  Just sayin’.  Note to self: propose new reality show where awards ceremony winners are determined by having nominees step into the octagon. 

T: Brilliant! 

Wait, what is that?  Are we running out of time?  Someone turn off that music!

The producers closed the curtain on us…

We’re on a roll, and we promise, we won’t let a little thing like time get in the way of that.  Tune in next Tuesday for the conclusion of the Tamberny Awards.

Do you agree with our picks?  How about our write-in shows like Archer?  We’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to tell us what you think, and send pictures of your own Tamberny moments for a chance to win something special!

Tele-Tuesday: “Real” Summer Fun

The networks produce tons of reality television for basic cable over the summer months.  Let’s be honest – the networks produce tons of reality television every month for all of the networks – period.  One can find reality shows on almost any network at any time, including A&E and The History Channel.

While there is more than enough out there for everyone to choose from, June and July bring back two of our favorite reality shows – Hell’s Kitchen and Big Brother.

 

First up, Hell’s Kitchen

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey hosts one of the best cooking shows on television, and definitely the most-fun.  Along with his British accent, his multiple Michelin stars (one of the top hotel and restaurant annual guides), his multiple renowned restaurants, and six television programs, Chef Ramsey might just as well be known for his stellar vocabulary.  He drops the “F” bomb a lot, and the television sensors bleep him quite a bit.  “You, Donkey,” happens to be one of our favorite Ramsay-isms.

Lewd language aside, Chef Ramsey shares his knowledge of cooking and invites twelve chefs (some aspiring chefs, some sous-chefs, and some executive chefs) to compete for an opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to win a high paying position at a top restaurant in popular cities such as Vegas, Atlantic City, Los Angeles, and Whistler, British Columbia.

Each season promises drama as the cast members’ personalities inevitably clash.  But most importantly, and ironically, each season the cast members appear to cook the same dishes incorrectly over and over again driving Chef Ramsey absolutely bonkers.  Such dishes include scallops, risotto, and beef wellington.

One by one, the competing chefs’ jackets are burned, leaving only two to battle it out for the prize.  The final two select previously eliminated teammates to work alongside them in the final competition of the season, and there’s nothing quite like watching the two struggle with this decision, knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and tempers of their cohorts.  These two finalists build their own menus and sometimes even design their half of the dining room giving Chef Ramsey a full view of their potential as Executive Chefs.

Chef Gordon Ramsey and season 3 winner Rock Harper

Former winners of Hell’s Kitchen include: Michael Wray (Season 1), Heather West (Season 2), Rahman “Rock” Harper (Season 3), Christina Machamer (Season 4), Danny Veltri (Season 5), Dave Levey (Season 6), Holli Ugalde (Season 7), and Nona Sivley (Season 8).

If you love food, love to cook, or love to laugh, I highly suggest giving Hell’s Kitchen a try.  I have added dining at a Ramsey restaurant to my bucket list.  Do you know what I’ll order?  Scallops, risotto, and beef wellington!

Hell’s Kitchen premiers Tuesday, July 19th on FOX.

 

Next, we have Big Brother

What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Big Brother’?  “Big Brother is watching you,” right?  Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell still lives strong today.  Only today, many people immediately think of CBS’s hit reality show, Big Brother, not the classic literary work.

Each season, approximately thirteen houseguests arrive for their summer of seclusion cut off from the outside world completely – no television, no telephone, no radios, no newspapers, no computers – no contact.  They compete against each other in food and luxury competitions, as well as the ever-powerful Head of Household (H.O.H.) and the Power of Veto competitions in the hopes of winning the $500,000 cash prize.

Alliances inevitably form, and usually only the strongest survive the game.  On the other hand, forming and publicly acknowledging an alliance will most often times ensure the members of said alliance have the largest targets on his/her backs.  Two of the most successful alliances in the history of Big Brother formed the previous two seasons – Season 11’s Jeff Schroeder and winner Jordan Lloyd, and season 12’s ‘The Brigade’ consisting of winner Hayden Moss, and his three buddies: Enzo Palumbo, Lane Elenburg, and Matt Hoffman.

Video cameras capture the houseguests’ every move.  In addition to CBS’s airing three episodes a week, live 24/7 feeds are available online, and Showtime airs Big Brother: After Dark every night from midnight to 3am (EST).

America watches and votes on special circumstances to make the houseguests’ lives even more difficult. For example, the losing members of the food competitions are forced to eat “Big Brother Slop” for seven days.  The slop has been compared to oatmeal in texture, but lacks all taste.  America votes each week and allows the losing houseguests the opportunity to eat other selected food items such as bok choy and baby food.

America has also voted some of the biggest twists into the game – The Power of Coup D’Etat (season 11 awarded to Jeff Schroeder), re-entry into the house (season 6 awarded to Kaysar Ridha), and the Saboteur (season 12 awarded to Ragan Fox).   But don’t worry; Big Brother doesn’t always need America’s help to thrust the houseguests into a deep paranoia.  In Season 11, Big Brother introduced Pandora’s Box.  Each time the houseguest of choice decides to open the box, the remaining houseguests endure a good consequence and a bad consequence.  They never know what might happen until it’s too late and the decision has been made.

Big Brother host – Julie Chen

CBS and Julie Chen host some of the most fun summer television programming has to offer.  If you love watching men & women battle it out physically, go insane and breakdown, and engage in some of the most strategic game-play on television today, check out Season 13!

Big Brother premiers Thursday, July 7th on CBS.

 

Are you a fan of Hell’s Kitchen or Big Brother?  Who’s your favorite winner from Hell’s Kitchen?  Who’s your favorite houseguest from Big Brother?  How about your least favorite and why? Which reality television shows do you enjoy?  If given the opportunity, would you audition for reality television?  I’d love to hear from you!

Special Announcement – Tomorrow, Amber West and I launch our new blog series, Why it’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Come back and check out our first editionsSwitched at Birth (ABC Family) and Teen Wolf (MTV).  Stop by the twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series.

Tele-Tuesday #6 – Only on Cable…and Netflix!

 

Over the years, HBO has reigned supreme with some of the best series and mini-series available on television.  Who hasn’t watched, or at least heard buzz about, Oz (1997-2003), Sex and the City (1998-2004, plus two motion pictures in 2008 & 2010), The Sopranos (1999-2007), Six Feet Under (2001-2005), Band of Brothers (2001), and Deadwood (2004-2006)?

HBO’s programs have launched powerful and everlasting characters such as Carrie Bradshaw, Tony Soprano, and Al Swearengen.  These successful shows have also helped popular actors land hot new roles such as Christopher Meloni in Law & Order: SVU, Timothy Olyphant in Justified, and Michael Imperioli in Detroit 187.

In 2008, HBO aired its own take on the ever-growing, ever-popular supernatural drama, True Blood.

True Blood – Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, True Blood focuses on the lives of the supernatural and the regular people in fictional Bon Temps, LA.

The series follows the love story between Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and Vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), and all of the consequences of such a love.  The show oozes sexuality with characters like Vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), and Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), and holds nothing back with the sultry sex scenes.  True Blood isn’t for the faint of heart; the show doesn’t hide behind the sensors, ensuring blood and gore in most of the episodes.

Season 1 followed the upturned lives of Bon Temps while a serial killer murdered many, including Sookie’s beloved grandmother.  The audience also meets the local folk of Bon Temps, who tend to be just a bit odd: Sookie’s confidant, and boss, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) shape shifts into a friendly dog; Sookie’s brother, Jason, becomes addicted to V (drinking vamp blood), and is the main suspect in the murders around town; and Sookie’s best friend, Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), while human, is all sorts of a mess.

Season 2 introduced a maenad, who manipulates Sookie’s closest friends hoping to gain control of the small town, and sacrifices many along the way.  Season 2 also builds more in the storyline for Vampire Eric, including his maker’s demise.  The second season also follows Jason as he learns to battle vamps at the Fellowship of the Sun church, and introduces the vampire queen of Louisiana: Sophie-Anne (Evan Rachel Cook).

Season 3 added the werewolf, more specifically Alcide (Joe Manganiello), another of Sookie’s protectors.  What a lucky girl! First Shape-Shifter Sam, then Vampire Bill, and Vampire Eric, now Werewolf Alcide: four hot men protecting little ol’ Sookie.  We also meet the evil vampire king of Mississippi: Russell Edgington.  Oh yea, and Sookie is revealed as a fairy, in addition to her telepathic abilities.  What will happen in Season 4?

 

Showtime joined the party launching successful programming of its own in 2000 with Queer as Folk (2000-2005), and has held its own in the series & miniseries world since with The L Word (2004-2009), Weeds (2005-present), Dexter (2006-present), The Tudors (2007-2010), Californication (2007-present), and new hits such as Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, and Shameless.

Let’s start with two of the best 30-minute dramadies on television: Weeds and Californication.

Weeds – Over the past six seasons, Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) has done what she needed to do in order to provide for her young sons (Silas, played by Hunter Parish; and Shane, played by Alexander Gould) after her husband, Judah (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), passes away suddenly – she sells weed.

The surprise visit of Judah’s brother, Andy (Justin Kirk), rocks Nancy’s world even more and her life spirals even further out of control.  Despite her shenanigans, Nancy truly tries to be the best mother possible to her boys.  However, Nancy has the tendency to screw things up and fall for the wrong men along the way:  Conrad, her weed-growing partner; Peter, her second husband/FBI agent; and Esteban Reyes, her third husband/Mexican drug cartel crime lord.

In Season 5, Nancy’s life is saved by the birth of her third son, Stevie Reyes; but, the lives of her family will never be the same.  So, what does the Botwin family do?  They flee, assume false identities, and return to the world of selling hash only to come face to face with Esteban, who has been diligently searching for his son, and his goons in the season finale.  Season 7 returns June 27th – what crazy antics are in store for Nancy, Andy, Silas, Shane, and Stevie?

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; not long after “the punch”, Hank discovers that Mia is the 16 year old daughter of Karen’s new fiancé. And, there you have the setting for all five seasons thus far.

Californication is pure brilliance, but raunchy.  In Season 2, Hank is hired to write the biography of a rock star – just want 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 my favorite laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-face, scenes aired in Season 4 with the entire cast of characters sitting around Stu’s (Stephen Tobolowsky) dinner table.  Another unforgettable scene was 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!

Dexter – Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) = member of the Miami Police Department by day (specializing in blood spatter), and vigilante/serial killer by night.  Dexter only murders other killers; that’s ok, right?

Dexter’s ties to his family (foster-sister, Debra; wife, Rita; stepchildren, Astor and Cody; and son, Harrison) force him to doubt his secret life, but he continues to kill, wrap the bodies tightly, and dispose of them at sea from his boat, “Slice of Life”.   Each season, Dexter faces a nemesis: “The Ice Truck Killer” (S1); “The Bay Harbor Butcher” (S2) — Oh wait, that’s Dexter! – so, let’s say his rival in Season 2 is Sergeant James Doakes; “The Skinner” (S3); “Trinity Killer” played by the fabulous John Lithgow (S4); and the “Santa Muerte Killer” (S5).

What demon will Dexter battle next? And what horrific murderer will Dexter permanently remove from Miami?  Will anyone catch Dexter?  Rumor mills report that Season 6 will be air sometime in 2011…

What’s your favorite movie-channel series of all time? Least favorite?  Which is better: HBO of old, or Showtime of new? Who’s your favorite HBO/Showtime series character?  Least favorite? I’d love to hear from you!

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