Why ‘The Office’ really needs to close

22 05 2010

The OfficeThree weeks ago Steve Carrell announced that his contract on The Office is up after the 2010-2011 season. With 6 seasons of Michael Scott under his belt, he told BBC radio that it might be time to head home for good, shutting the doors on Dunder Mifflin and our favorite dysfunctional work family.

When I first heard the news I was devastated. We were fast approaching the final curtain of LOST (which is unfortunately now upon us) and I couldn’t fathom losing ANOTHER of my favorite shows. And with rumors that Friday Night Lights could possibly pull the plug -or rather, have the plug pulled on them – after next season, I’m looking at going from 4 must see TV shows down to 1 in very short order.

And then, I watched the past two week’s episodes – and I’ve come to the realization that another season is probably too much for my beloved The Office.

Lately it’s seemed much more contrived than normal. Many blame Carrell’s character – how often can he be an obnoxious boss? How many times can he do things that would have gotten him fired and have HR turn a blind eye? Sure, Michael Scott probably has a bit to do with it, but he’s not the only problem.

All of the actors have gotten complacent in their roles. Jim and Pam are adorable, but they’re Jim and Pam. We know what to expect of them and they deliver. Dwight is no longer shocking when he mentions his beet farm, cousin Mose, his weapons, or Angela. Toby just sort of mosey’s on through and everyone hates him. No one is new, no one is interesting – even the new characters – Erin is very one-dimensional and really annoying.

And in addition to the actors settling into their roles in a detrimental way, the writers don’t seem to be able to deliver a compelling story line. They’re leaving loose ends (radon testing?) and they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. Now that Jim and Pam are married and had the baby we really have to focus on The Office, and there aren’t many more storylines we can get out of that.

Let’s take a closer look at the past two episodes.

The Chump – The Dunder Mifflin-ites find out that Michael hasn’t broken off his relationship with Donna, a married woman. The entire office drops everything to try to convince him that he’s being a horrible person with absolutely zero morals and he’s hurting Donna’s husband even though he doesn’t know him.

Best part of the episode? Ryan asking Erin out and then turning around because even he can’t be that cold. Worst part? Everything else. There was absolutely nothing compelling in this judgemental episode. Angela and Dwight hooking up? Yeah, we’ve been there, done that, it’s nothing new. Jim and Pam being tired parents? True to life, but too drawn out. Andy and Michael going to meet Donna’s husband? Really contrived. No one, not even Michael Scott and Andy Bernard, would do that.

Whistleblower – The story of Sabre’s flammable printers hits the news, so CEO Jo flies in to clean up the mess. Turns out, a number of Dunder Mifflinites leaked the story to members of the press.

Best part of the episode? Nick the IT guy saying goodbye and everyone hating him. Worst part of the episode? Nick the IT guy saying goodbye and everyone hating him. The only cohesive part of this entire episode where we actually saw The Office, Nick the IT guy’s goodbye had the makings of greatness. No one knowing his name was hilarious because it was kind of strange that he was ever introduced. It was as though the writers had a great idea for him but it never came to fruition. At the same time, everyone in The Office was horribly mean to the man. Obviously, he wasn’t important, but in years past the characters had a reason to be stand-offish to those they were stand-offish too. The writers should have just let Nick disappear on his own without making a big deal out of it.

Honestly, if you look at the facts, The Office hasn’t been up to snuff for quite some time. The wedding and birth episodes were cute, adorable, any number of adjectives, but they weren’t completely awesome, they just had awesome parts relating to Dwight and Kevin. Those were this season’s two big episodes and because we all anticipated them, we were happy when everything went right in Jim & Pam’s lives.

If we’re going to suffer through another season, however, I hope that we get back to more of a focus on the Office itself and less time on personal life. The Office was at its best when business took priority and the personal lives of the staff were interspersed with the every day responsibilities (or lack thereof) of a 9 to 5 job.

I still love the characters. I feel like I work with them every day in my own office. I just want to remember them at their best.

It might be time to try to transfer away from them so I can…

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Post-Oscar 2010 Scorecard

8 03 2010

I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to watch an Oscar telecast as I was last night. It might have something to do with the fact that there was such a wide range of movies nominated this year or it might have been the fact that I had one of the best conversations of my life last year on Oscar day when I had to explain to two of my best friends that the Academy Awards and the Oscars were in fact the same awards show.

Either way, I feel it obligatory to score my predictions from yesterday.

BEST ANIMATED FILM: UP – Thank you Academy! You recognized the only best picture nominee of the group and honored it in the way it should be honored – as an animated film. And the Oscar for Best Original Score was icing on the cake. I forgot how moving that score was and you could feel the emotion in the snippet they played – though the dancers did absolutely nothing for it.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz – The first non-surprise of many of the night. It was only natural that the Academy would recognize Tarentino’s Inglourious Basterds in some way tonight just because he’s Tarentino. However, with the movie up against a lot of better ones for Best Picture, and there being no way in hell that Kathryn Bigelow or James Cameron wouldn’t win for Best Director they had to give it to Waltz. He did give a damn good performance in the film, which was its only saving grace. It would have been nice for a nod to Christopher Plummer, though.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo’Nique – No surprise again. She deserved this award for going to the deepest recesses of her soul to become a monster and managing to come out on the other end of this film a stronger and more empowered woman. Still, she manages to be humble and recognize that her strength in the role was not from her alone but from a collaboration with a strong director, script and co-stars. Loved that she won.

BEST ACTOR: Jeff Bridges – Are you seeing the pattern here? No surprise once again that Bridges finally got recognized for his work. They made a huge show out of continuously saying that he came from one of the great Hollywood acting families and his fun nod to his parents turning him on to “such a groovy profession” was sweet and fitting for an actor who made his name playing “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski.

BEST ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock – Again, no surprise here. Bullock delivered a strong performance in The Blind Side, and it was probably a career-best up to this point. However, she did not deliver the best performance out of all the nominees. We all know where I stand on this category – Mirren was robbed – so I won’t rehash that in depth. The only saving grace in Bullock getting this award was that we got to see another emotional acceptance speech and she’s the only actor to ever win a Razzie (for All About Steve) and an Oscar in the same weekend. And was I the only person who really wished Gabourey Sidibe would win just so we could see her acceptance speech? Her excitement was palpable throughout the telecast and her tears as Oprah gave her performance praise were so sweet.

BEST PICTURE: – The Hurt Locker – Love it. That’s really all I have to say. It came down to Avatar and The Hurt Locker and the film with the stronger story and real feel won. Love it.

BEST DIRECTOR: – Kathryn Bigelow – I thought the Academy was going to split their votes and give one award to Avatar and one to The Hurt Locker, so I was surprised when Bigelow took home both. Still, I was happy. It’s amazing that she’s the first female to take home this award, made better by the fact that today is International Women’s Day. She deserved to win! And I’m glad we didn’t have to listen to another “I’m the King of the World!” speech in Na’vi.

Scorecard: I’m 7 for 7 on Should Wins and 6 of 7 on Will wins.

Other thoughts on the telecast:

  • Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin kind of rocked as hosts. Their opening monologue was light-hearted and witty. They could have been better had they actually pointed out all the nominated actors/actresses so that leaving Maggie Gyllenhaal out of the fun but continuously showing her sitting in the audience wasn’t so glaring.
  • What was the gag between Alec and George Clooney? I enjoyed it, but I feel like their uncomfortable staring had a history that I don’t know about that would make it that much better.
  • I’m glad Ben Stiller figured out that his Na’vi costume was a dud as soon as he stepped on stage. His visible uncomfort was the only thing that made that gag worthwhile. Plus, the fact that Avatar wasn’t even nominated for that award made it even more awkward.
  • The Oscars had their very own Kanye. WTF happened after they announced Roger Ross William’s film Music By Prudence as Best Documentary Short? One minute he’s in the audience hugging his Mom, the next he’s on stage and some lady wearing a purple blanket is wrestling the microphone away from him and spouting random crap about Zimbabwe the second he says Thank you. The interaction was uncomfortable, but Williams handled it with grace and made sure to point out that Prudence was in the audience before following purple blanket-lady backstage to presumably bitch slap her with his award. NOTE: Purple blanket-lady is apparently one of the producers on the film named Elinor Burkett. She and Williams aren’t speaking at the moment due to creative differences, but Williams is the true owner of the award as the movie belongs to him. So, suck it purple blanket lady! Read about it here.
  • Best Original Score. Umm, don’t we normally get performances of the Best Songs instead of the actual scores? And aren’t those normally better? The answer to those questions are yes and hell yes. Why did the Academy decide we needed interprative dances of the original scores? Break dancing can only go so far, people. It can’t capture the innocence and emotion of Up’s score (or many others, actually). And did it have to go on so long?? We get it, they can dance, now please cart another pretty celebrity out before us so we can see their outfit for the evening.
  • Rachel McAdams. Love your dress, girl, but I feel bad that you’re going to wake up today and see the footage of you presenting and realize that you had a random section of hair sticking straight out from the right side of your head.
  • Miley Cyrus. First, why are you at the Oscars? Second, why does your dress not fit? Third, why are you at the Oscars? Stand up straight at your next award show, honey, you look frumpy. Amanda Seyfried, you’re adorable as always. I’m sorry Miley took away from your beauty.
  • Why is Jane Seymour there?
  • Why did Keanu Reeves get chosen to present a Best Picture nominee?
  • Why was Twilight in the horror movie montage? And Young Frankenstein? Why was there even a horror movie montage?
  • Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in a double snuggie backstage. Awesome.
  • Colin Firth looked kind of sad that Jeff Bridges won. It’s understandable as he’s a great actor and this is the first time he’s been nominated. The puppy dog sadness only made him more attractive as well.




Can Jersey Shore Rescue Leno?

4 02 2010

I’m trying not to beat The Good, The Bad and The Really Crappy’s readers over the head with my Jersey Shore love. Much of my JS commentary has moved to another blog, “Hairpoof“, but as my latest post over there is about the late night drama we decided to post it over here.

Ratings:

The Jay Leno Show – Bad

Conan O’Brien on The Tonight Show – Bad

Conan O’Brien on Late Night – REALLY GOOD (unfortunately he’s not there anymore)

Jay Leno’s Tonight Show – Was good, now borders on bad due to politics.

But can Jersey Shore bump Leno’s reclaimed tonight show back to Good?

Were you Team Leno or Team Coco?

For the past month one of the hottest things in pop culture, aside from JS of course, is the drama surrounding NBC’s late night schedule.

For those who have been living under a rock, NBC and Conan O’Brien signed a deal in 2004 that would move O’Brien from Late Night to The Tonight Show once Leno retired in 2008 (as was the plan). In October 2007, Leno reevaluated his retirement plan (potentially in light of the fact that he held the number 1 spot in late night TV) and began to drop hints that he might not want to leave the entertainment world. O’Brien took over Tonight in July 2008 and Leno twiddled his thumbs until December when NBC announced that he would get his own primetime talk-show at 10 p.m. M-F. The Jay Leno Show premiered in Sept. 2009 and immediately begins to tank in ratings which hurts all of NBC’s late night shows (including local news at 11) as they no longer have a strong 10 p.m. lead-in. By Jan. 2010 there were rumors of pulling the plug and the masses reacted to the fact that there was talk of pulling O’Brien from The Tonight Show and giving it to Leno again by creating teams (which is also a hot commodity in pop culture due to Twilight’s Team Jacob or Team Edward, though the idea really originated as a phenomenon in 2005 with Team Aniston and Team Jolie during Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s break-up over Angelina Jolie).

And then the inevitable happened, NBC chased ratings and O’Brien was out for good on Jan 21 with the news that Leno would host again once the Winter Olympics ended on March 1.

Team Coco isn’t happy though. And Team Coco is predominantly the golden age for advertisers – 18-49 – with an emphasis on the younger end.

I can’t remember a time when I never heard the dulcet tones of the red-head coming from at least one dorm room in college, and Late Night was a staple of the newsroom at our student newspaper. However, Team Coco didn’t necessarily accept The Tonight Show Conan. Moving O’Brien to 11:30 might have caught a few of the older ages in the demographic but college students have set late night schedules and those schedules more often than not include Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report at 11 and 11:30.

Coco worked at 12:30 because we always inevitably remembered to change the channel to NBC sometime between Colbert and O’Brien and we enjoyed Coco then. Moving him to 11:30 screwed up the college student late night schedule. But we’re not here to argue that point.

The fact of the matter is that Team Coco is pissed at Team Leno and NBC. They believe NBC didn’t give O’Brien enough time to come into his own as The Tonight Show host and they cut him off at the knees by not providing a strong lead-in at 10 p.m. They also believe that Leno pulled a douche move by even thinking about moving back to Tonight, let alone doing so and forcing O’Brien out. Their overall disgust with how Coco was so unceremoniously thrown aside for Leno has left them with a bad taste in their mouth. A taste that NBC is afraid will cause them to change the channel and catch Letterman on CBS.

So, what can’t the young end of the 18-49 spectrum get enough of?

Jersey Shore, of course.

MTV announced yesterday (and the cast has subsequently tweeted at a near constant rate) that our favorite reality show cast (minus Vinny who isn’t feeling well, according to Zaptoit.com) is headed to LA today to film Leno. They’ll be broadcast on March 3, the third episode of his reclaimed Tonight Show.

Undoubtedly, NBC is trying to woo miffed Team Coco fans back to the Leno/Tonight Show-fold by providing them with glimpses of the cast before they begin filming for Season Two. It’s a move that has the potetial to work, I know I’ll be watching next month, but it also has the potential to be very flawed.

Why film now? The episode won’t air for over a month. Maybe NBC thinks people will forget about Sammi Sweetheart and the others during the Olympics? Not likely. And there’s no way that anything the cast or Leno says today won’t be leaked to the blogosphere by March, so where will the surprise be?

Even with the proliferation of probably everything the JS cast says on Leno to every internet news source out there won’t stop all of the fist pumping fans from tuning in. And that’s exactly what NBC hopes.

So now it’s up to the viewers? Can Jersey Shore save Leno?

Photo credit: Facebook’s “I’m With Coco” group





Series Finale of ‘Jersey Shore’ Brings Questions About Future of Show

21 01 2010

With tonight being the season finale of Jersey Shore, the so-bad-it’s-good MTV reality series phenomenon that swept the nation, it begs the question of what happens next.

Jersey Shore fever seemed to reach its peak just after Christmas and into the New Year. Its target audience was on Winter Break and could devote hours and hours to watching reruns and introducing friends to the sensation.

And then, they all went back to school or work and real life took precedence over the reality life Pauly D, The Situation, Snooki, JWoww, Vinny, Ronnie and Sammi were leading.

Sure, last week’s two episodes were enjoyable, but it seemed as though MTV had jumped the shark a bit with their previews as the most memorable moments – The Situation’s “rolls” insult and getting hit by JWoww – were well-known well before they were broadcast.

It could be considered the downside of fame. As the cast became more famous and the show picked up steam everyone seemed to want to know what they were all about. Events that happened in August and September were dredged up before they had time to air on episodes and things stopped being new.

Over the course of four episodes, the show went from ridiculously entertaining to ridiculously redundant due to fights.

Maybe I’m jaded, but the Snooki punch was a startling beginning to the violence on the show, Ronnie’s fight on the boardwalk in the next episode elevated the tension, Snooki fighting with the “hippo” and the “grenade” was hilarious, JWoww going after the Situation seemed unnecessary and Ronnie knocking a guy out in one punch was disturbing.

It’s still enjoyable watching the cast party, which seems to be about all they do other than fight, but can this style of show last past one season?

There is no inherent conflict on Jersey Shore, no reason for being. The Real World at least puts their cast members to work – which Jersey Shore did too, or at least they say they work at a t-shirt shop even though it’s been noticeably absent in the past few episodes – and Road Rules always had a task driving an episode. Even MTV’s new show The Buried Life sets a goal for each episode.

I enjoy Jersey Shore’s escape from reality as much as the next person. I’ll definitely be watching tonight and cheering the cast members on as they beat up the beat and creep it on the residents of Seaside Heights. I would love to go to a club with them and fist pump. And I’d love to see more of the cast, but what more can they do? As much as I want to see them all again, I’m worried a second season may seem stale.

Only time will tell what will happen with our favorite guidos and guidettes, though. Until then, we’ll have to enjoy the reruns MTV seems to run constantly.

And maybe we can all make it through the separation anxiety sure to be left in the wake of season one with some of the parodies people have made – Like the Little Jersey Shore.





Secrets of Pauly D’s Hair Care Revealed

15 01 2010

In the last post, I wondered how Pauly D, of MTV’s Jersey Shore, managed to get his hair so epically perfect each and every day.

Apparently the New York Daily News was wondering as well and Pauly D gave them an inside look at his hair care regimen. I’m not sure if this confirms the rumors that he uses $60 of product a week, but he is using quite a bit. His hair has more product in it in one day than mine does in an entire year!

Check it out!





Jersey Shore Proves a Delicious Dose of Entertainment

12 01 2010

The Jersey Shore Cast, L to R The Situation, Pauly D, Ronnie and Vinny; JWoww, Sammi, Snooki and the firecracker Image courtesy of Hollywoodgossip.com

Another first for The Good, the Bad and the Really Crappy– A television review!

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the new MTV reality show “Jersey Shore.” Whether it’s Italian Americans claiming that the show demeans them, residents of the Jersey Shore claiming the cast members misrepresent what goes on at the shore or advocates crying foul over MTV’s decision to air – and then not air – the violent punch that Snooki takes in the Third episode it seems everyone has at least heard of the phenomenon.

I have to admit, I’m not normally a fan of reality tv, but I have a soft spot when it comes to MTV. I love Road Rules (which needs to come back soon, please) and the Real World/Road Rules Challenges is pure brain candy, so when I heard about Jersey Shore I had high hopes. Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined. It’s fantastic, amazing, crazy, delicious and a ‘fist-pumping’ good time.

The seven cast members – which started as eight but I don’t count Angelina (as Mike “the Situation” said, she was a “half-a**ed fire cracker who fizzled out real fast and made a loud noise”) – are crazy, obnoxious and entirely too loveable. Each has an exaggerated personality that, when mixed with the others, becomes a hot mess.

Whether they’re “beatin’ up the beat” (which I so want to do with them someday!) at Karma, starting fights on the boardwalk, working their jobs at the t-shirt store, or coming together for epic family meals, this is one show that definitely gets a fist pump and a rating of so bad it’s deliciously GOOD!

If you’ve never seen the show or the cast, here’s a quick rundown of everyone:

Mike “The Situation” – is the classic “creeper” as the Jersey Shore kids call it. He’s at the shore to get ladies, and more often than not succeeds when he flashes his washboard abs. If I were to encounter this man in real life I’d probably run screaming in the other direction (prior to seeing him on the show, of course, now I’m trying to find out if he’s making appearances at clubs near me). He’s intense, as witnessed by his quotes that “it’s not a matter of if I hook up with [her], but when I decide,” but he’s loveable nonetheless as he teaches viewers about his lifestyle of GTL – Gym, Tanning, Laundry.

Nicole “Snooki” – the most likeable of the women on the show, Snooki has a deranged innocence about her. She may make a habit out of not wearing pants to a club, flashing more of her underwear than the world wants to see, and hooking up with her roommates in the hot tub, but she also shows her vulnerable side when her mom comes to visit. And then there’s the infamous punch heard round the internet when a man took a pop at Snooki in a bar one night causing her to cut her mouth and which the cast members credit as bringing them together as a family.

Pauly D – The Situation’s go-to wing man, and vice versa, as the two creep it on the ladies of Seaside Heights, NJ. He subscribes to the GTL lifestyle as well, but his hair is truly of note. It’s been rumored that he uses $60 of haircare products on it daily and it is magnificent. As he said himself, “My hair’s windproof, waterproof, soccerproof, motocycleproof. I’m not sure if my hair’s bulletproof, I’m not willin’ to try that.” How does he get to so high? What does it feel like to touch? Is it greasy? Stiff? Hard as a rock? All questions I ask myself whenever he comes on screen.

JWoww – at times her chest seems to overpower anything she says, does or wears, and she spent two episodes actively cheating on her boyfriend with Pauly D, but JWoww is fantastic. She has no qualms to telling it like it is and she becomes the go-to person for advice as Ronnie searches for guidance in his relationship with Sammi and Snooki tries to deal with the aftermath of getting punched in the face.

Ronnie – the biggest meat head of them all, Ronnie proved himself to be a juiced dude with anger management issues in the sixth episode of the season. He’s a fighter, but he’s also a lover as he and Sammi “Sweetheart” are enamored with each other. And take note when he dances, his unique style is both amazing and a little crazy. He also got one of the best quotes of the season off while he joked around with his girlfriend saying, “your Flinestone big toe,” which caused Sammi to flip out.

Sammi “Sweetheart” – Ronnie’s girlfriend, Sammi proves to be a bit nuts. When the switch flips on her personality, it flips hard, as witnessed by her unnaturally emphatic freak out to Ronnie saying she had a Flinstone toe because she “Can’t help the way her body looks!” When she’s not in all out crazy mode, Sammi has a sweetness about her that’s hard to come by from the other girls. Unlike Snooki, her sweetness isn’t due to vulnerability, though that may be because people are walking on egg shells around her so as not to flip the switch.

And finally,

Vinny – For the first four episodes I had no idea Vinny was even a cast member. I thought he was a friend who would happen to pass through a few scenes, but didn’t pay him much attention. Once I learned he was actually living in the house though, I started to take note, and apparently so did the cameras as we’ve seen a lot more of him lately. Unlike Pauly D and The Situation, Vinny doesn’t perscribe to the guido lifestyle of GTL, instead, his would go something like BPB – “basketball, pool, beach.” He’s not as awesomely crazy as the other cast members, but he provides a subdued unity to the house. He’s also apparently brilliant as he just took his LSAT and is debating going to law school.

I can see the spin-off now….Jersey Shore Crashes Harvard! I know I’d watch…would you?