Parks and Rec, Happy Endings Renewed

Two of my favorite comedies this year have been Parks and Recreation and Happy Endings. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Happy Endings will receive another 22 episode season; same for Parks and Recreation, says Alan Sepinwall of Hitfix. This is good news, for all of us, because if these shows had been cancelled, it might had made me cry and I am a really ugly crier. No one needs to see that.

On the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, this news ranks somewhere between Woodworking and Welfare Avoidance, and above Haircuts.

Raked TV Madness! The Elite Eight!

Wow. I’m pleased to say that we got some new blood in the competition, with brand-new voters jumping in with their picks both in the comments and on Twitter. Let’s keep that momentum going into the next round — The Elite Eight!

There were some definite surprises in the last round. Awake fans rallied once again to beat out Justified  by a large margin (they’re currently the ones to beat, folks), but Castle overtook Bones with a similar large number of votes. In a closer race, Community took out its 8:00 competitor Big Bang Theory, and with a mere one vote lead, Happy Endings overpowered Emmy-winning Modern Family.

Once Upon a Time easily beat Supernatural, and I was pleased to see that, while in close competition, Fringe took the lead against The Walking Dead and is moving on to the next round. Mad Men easily grabbed the attention of viewers over Boardwalk Empire, but probably the biggest surprise in the competition was Parenthood‘s defeat of Downton Abbey.

Now it’s time to choose the sole survivor for each division. On to the Elite Eight!
(Click for a larger image.)

For those of you who don’t have expert vision or magnifying glasses, here’s the breakdown.

Comedies:
Happy Endings vs. Community

Procedurals:
Castle vs. Awake

Supernatural/Fantasy:
Once Upon a Time vs. Fringe

Dramas:
Parenthood vs. Mad Men

We’re almost to the Final Four! Which one of these shows will move on to the next round? Who will be the division winner? Let me know your votes in the comments, send me an email, or drop me a line on Twitter. And spread the word. If we’ve learned anything from these winners, those with the most fans voting are the ones that move on!

You’ve only got two days to vote! The Final Four will be up on Wednesday!

This round has now ended. Vote for the Final Four!

The 2011 Awards: Part 2

It’s Part 2 of the 2011 Awards! If you haven’t checked them out yet, take a look at Part 1. We’ve got a good mix of winners, and here’s more! As I mentioned before, categories with an asterisk (*) mean that a reader has either suggested the category or the winner.

The 2011 Awards!

Surprise Standout Star: Karine Vanasse, Pan Am. I started watching Pan Am for Christina Ricci. I continued to watch it for Karine Vanasse. She’s an incredible talent. Her portrayal of Colette during the episode where the group headed to Germany and heard Kennedy’s speech, less than twenty years after Colette’s parents were killed in WWII, was absolutely brilliant. I didn’t know her before the series started. Now everybody should.

*Best Use of Music: How I Met Your Mother. I know, I know. HIMYM is not usually considered a highly musical show. But seeing the latest Christmas episode, with the “Symphony of Illumination” gives the show this award. It was creative (and time-consuming to create, I’m sure). And completely worth rewatching the episode for — and I have.

*Worst Use of Music: One Tree Hill. Oh. Dear. God. Make the theme songs stop. OTH tried to be creative this past season with their covers of the theme song, but in a 22-episode season, it became exhausting and annoying. While a handful of artists were creative and talented, most just slowed down “I Don’t Wanna Be” into soulful, indie crap that made my ears bleed.

Best Guy in a Suit: Neal Caffrey, White Collar. Congratulations to Neal, who has won the award for the second straight year in a row.

Best Woman in Heels: Victoria Grayson, Revenge. Step aside, Dr. Isles, we have a new champion. Donning heels and a tight dress in your mansion of a beach house makes one tend to notice you. And we have. We hand the trophy to Victoria, who week to week is able to balance on designer stillettos while still maintaining her vicious glare.

*Best Intro Sequence: Game of Thrones. Not only does the intro sequence give you all the geographic information of this bizarre world without having to say anything, but its primitive, clockwork mechanism reminds you of a genre that fits a medieval mindset. And the accompanying music just goes so well with its epic. And the carvings! Just by looking at that, you can see the history of the four houses without anyone having to tell you anything. It’s just such a wealth of information for the series, and it’s just wonderful.

Best Actor Blog: Jason O’Mara. Jason’s blog is a treat. He’s got videos with cast members and behind the scenes, mixed with personal favorites, like his watching the Irish rugby team playing in the Rugby World Cup. Plus, he gives you his real accent. It’s a fun one.

Best Twitter Bug: Michael Cudlitz. Sure, there are a lot of actors out there who tweet, and some even respond to you. But few interact with people as directly and as often as Michael Cudlitz does — even after Southland found a comfortable seat at TNT. Michael strikes a good balance with interacting with his fans and giving us up-to-date news on Southland.

Best Surprise Success: Happy Endings. Did anyone else think that the show that replaced Mr. Sunshine last spring would be such a hit today? I certainly didn’t. Most late-spring shows don’t go anywhere. But I’m happy to ride in Max’s 80s limo with the gang now!

Most Unrealistic Survival Story: Lydia Davis, Revenge. There is absolutely no way this woman would have fallen from her penthouse apartment, onto a parked taxi, and survived. It just wouldn’t happen. No way. Absolutely not. Nope. Nuh-uh. Wrong.

Best Running Gag: The Douchebag Jar, New Girl. Oh, the douchebag jar for Schmidt. That was fantastic — and still is.

Biggest Casting Mistake: Lily, Modern Family. Not only is the new Lily less cute and more annoying, but recasting the child for an older version took away some of the cute life moments that were seeing and loving about Lily. Her first word? Her first few steps? We got nothing but this kid who, frankly, could use some cutie-pie tips.

*Most Shocking Death: Ned Stark, Game of Thrones. Um, they killed off the lead actor in the series — the one that all the promos were based on — and then put his head on a stake on top of the castle for his eldest daughter to look at. What more can I say? Oh, perhaps I should put a new category on here…

Person We Most Want Dead: The sniveling little Prince Joffrey, Game of Thrones. ‘Nuff said.

Most Satisfying Kill: Tyler, V. Finally, after two seasons of his being the most annoying teenager on television, we saw Tyler get killed by his girlfriend’s alien doppelganger. Huzzah! If only that had happened a season earlier. Perhaps more fans would have continued watching.

Best Period Piece: Mad Men. Seeing as I’ve finally caught up (the shame was hurting too much), I now see what everyone’s been talking about. Mad Men wins, by a landslide. Sorry, Pan Am.

*****

We’re not done yet!
Check back tomorrow for the final batch of winners!

Thursday Open Thread: What Character Are You Like?

I’d love to take credit for this open thread, but really, commenter KM came up with this question a couple months ago. So let’s give a big shout out to her (thank you!), and then I’ll move on to why this is particularly relevant this week.

What TV Character Are You Most Like?

This is a pretty hard question to answer, considering how many characters there are out there. Personally, I find myself to be rather quirky with a slight OCD nature, something that I happened to witness on Happy Endings last night. Brad comes home without his wedding ring, and Jane notices instantly because she doesn’t hear the usual tap of his ring on the doorknob. While I might not be quite that observant, I do have my own moments. As my husband can contest, I’m famous for asking things like this: “Did you use the salt shaker? Because I noticed that it wasn’t moved.” In this particular case, it would have been moved a whole five inches.

Or, more accurately, “Were you playing XBox after I went to bed last night? Because I noticed that the remote was moved onto the ottoman and your controller isn’t plugged in.” (I don’t know how he puts up with me.)

Bu there’s a little bit of Jess from New Girl in me as well, especially in her tendency to make up songs. I could point out some of my negative characteristics from other characters, but this is out on the internet. I’d like to hang on to my pride.

So what about you? Who are you like?

If only I could pull off that shorts and heels combination as well as she does…

Happy Endings: First Impressions

HAPPY ENDINGS: 1.01 “The Pilot”
HAPPY ENDINGS: 1.02 “The Quicksand Girlfriend”

Much like the rest of the TV-watching world out there, when I first saw previews for Happy Endings, I wasn’t all that impressed. The jokes felt lame (yet another joke about whether a guy was good in bed?) and another random group of twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings, facing relationships in various stages: the married, the single, and the in between. Sure, it starts with a failed wedding…but if you think back to the ’90s, what sitcom didn’t? If anything, the marketing attempts for this show failed because what I thought was a stale sitcom was actually rather funny and refreshing.

I think I’d like to quote a fellow blogger, who reviewed the show over at The TV Addict:

Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, upon further review (Read: the devouring of the show’s first four episodes) HAPPY ENDINGS has two things going for it that make it worth checking out should you be so inclined to stick around post-MODERN FAMILY. First, a clever spin on the traditional sitcom-y wedding that starts at the beginning of the series rather than leave you waiting until the end of it (cough*HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER*cough) and two, a ridiculously likeable cast.

I share this less for the HIMYM slam (personally, I think leading up to some unknown variable can work in a series…if you know when it will end, like Lost, which is a bit of the failure of HIMYM – but that’s a different post entirely). More so, it’s the fact that this show really does have a “ridiculously likable cast.”

The show had a variety of new faces for me, with the exception of one. No, I’m not talking Elizabeth Cuthbert, who I guess I’m supposed to know (TV blogger fail), but instead it’s Eliza Coupe who played the rather abrasive Denise/Jo on the final two seasons of Scrubs. Seeing her now as a super professional, super supportive sister was a rather fun change. I enjoyed her here much more than, say, an FBI agent on Community, but Eliza doesn’t carry the show.

In fact, no one really does. The show is surprisingly successful at giving everyone something to do without feeling like anything has been put in there just to make sure that everyone has something to do (yes, Mr. Sunshine, I’m looking at you). Every character in the show has their own personalities, but they’re not so far apart that you say, “Seriously? Why are they friends with her?” For example, if you’ve identified how Monica and Phoebe ever became friends — let alone lived together and stayed friends afterward — you know the question I’m asking here. Further, just because you’re coworkers doesn’t mean your buddies; if I tried to single out any TV show for that flaw, I’m afraid my post would be abundantly long (and way off-topic).

Sure, we have a sister troupe with friends in the mix. The husband gets brought in because of the sister troupe, and I think the others might be roommates. Sure, it’s a bit of a stretch of unnecessary explanation, but certainly not a stretch of imagination.

Add on top of that a fresh flavor of skepticism to what sitcoms do these days. Sure, they pull out the ridiculous stops (a rollerblader steals the bride?), but they balance that with mockery of each other. Every show now makes up words to be fresh, funny, and exciting. But the first reference of “chicksand” not only warrants explanation, but the buddies dislike it until it’s acceptable. The quicktalk and quibbling works since it’s lighthearted, and like any group of friends, they aren’t going to take each other too seriously.

My only complaint is that I wonder if the show is moving too fast. Sure, I don’t want to be caught up with the drama of Ross and Rachel Alex and Dave forever, but having Dave dealing with a girlfriend in the next episode did seem a little fast. The transition seemed too easy. But maybe that’s just me.

I can only hope that the show can keep going in the way that it started. Happy Endings certainly has high potential. Let’s keep it just as strong a few episodes down the road.