Thursday Open Thread: Shows You’re Giving Up On

Well, we’ve covered the old, the new, and the new again, so let’s go back to the old for a second.

What returning show are you giving up on?

TV Guide had a slideshow devoted to this (sorry I can’t find the link; if you’ve got the app, check it out), so I’m now asking you. Are there any shows you used to watch that you’re giving up on?

I’m not sure if this counts, but if I have to choose, I’d say The Office. Here’s why I think it might not count: I gave up on The Office last season. But with tonight’s premiere of the ninth and final season, I considered coming back. I mean, NBC suckered me in by a promo focused on Pam and Jim’s relationship over the years. But the show has just been so bad, especially last season, that I just really can’t go back. It should have ended a long time ago, and for me, it’s already done.

Ok, I might see how they end the whole thing, just out of curiosity, but that’s one episode out of 22. So in essence, I’ve given up.

What about you?

The 2011 Awards: Part 1

It’s that time of year. I asked for some nominees from you, the readers, and now it’s time to announcing the winners of the 2011 Awards here on Raked. We’ve got a good mix of shows presented (and I hope you’ll agree), and just like last year, if you see a suggestion marked with an asterisk (*), that means that one of our readers suggested it for the list.

So enjoy Part 1 below. I’ll be following up tomorrow with more award winners!

The 2011 Awards!

Best Cliffhanger: Peter’s Disappearance, Fringe. This is one storyline that kept me going all summer long. And then the teasers, where you didn’t see him, and his voice just kept cutting in and out — that gave me goosebumps of anticipation! Come on, it even had it’s own tagline. That reminds me…

Best TV-Related Tagline: Where is Peter Bishop?, Fringe. Hell yes. Seriously. I think I still want this printed on a T-shirt or sweatshirt that I can wear in public.

Most Inventive New Show: American Horror Story. Sure, it had its flaws (Dylan McDermott for one; the antichrist for another), but when you can’t name another show like it and it gets consistent ratings, it’s certainly one to check out. This one has to be one of the most inventive new shows of the year, making me wonder most: What will next season be like?

*Creepiest Family Relationship: James and Angela Darmody, Boardwalk Empire. We had two gross examples of incest this year, both on the same network! Jaime and Cersei Lannister of Game of Thrones, and James and Angela Darmody of Boardwalk Empire. I think the award has to go to the Darmody’s though, because even if it only happens once, having sex with your mom is way more disgusting than having sex with your sibling.

#1 Character I Still Don’t Care About: Stefan, The Vampire Diaries. The idea of Stefan becoming a baddie seemed like an interesting idea. But the implementation was sloppy, and he’s certainly no Angelus. In the end, I never really cared about him anyway, so bad or good, I just don’t care.

Best Hair: Bridget, Ringer. Considering that she went from drug addict stripper forced to come clean after witnessing a murder and going into police detection, she sure knows how to make a neat chignon. Kudos.

Worst Hair: Bridget, Ringer. That ponytail with hair extensions in one of the early episodes was an awful mistake.

Most Annoying Teenage Character: Josh, Terra Nova, and Haddie, Parenthood. It’s a tie! I couldn’t just pick one. Falling in the footsteps of Tyler from V, we have two fantastic characters that bring down a show with something as small as a roll of their eyes. Whining, pitching fits, running away — you name it. These kids make us wince when they come on the screen — and make us change the channel when an episode is dependent on their plotline.

Best Standout Episodes: How I Met Your Mother. From Marshall’s dad’s death to Barney’s discovering his father to Robin’s discovery that she can’t have kids, How I Met Your Mother has brought us some fantastic standout episodes in 2011. Sure, there may have been weak ones in between, but these are the ones that make us keep watching.

*Best Newcomer Actress: Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones. She was given the most difficult role of any of the kids. Sansa could play the lady at court, which isn’t easy, but it’s not particularly hard; Bran could play the broken kid; but she had to play the line of the willful tomboy girl without making it seem out of context given the setting. Also, the work she did in Ned’s final episode was just awesome. Plus, it’s a rather physical role, given the left-handed fencing (and I don’t think she’s left-handed either).

*Best Newcomer Actor: Joel Kinnaman, The Killing. He did a great job showing the audience a conflicted, unexpectedly deep character. Despite how they screwed him up at the end that somehow he was a traitor, his acting performance was still well-done.

Best Musical Episode: “Regional Holiday Music,” Community. Oh, sure, many of you are probably upset that Community won over Glee. I agree. I do have a big soft spot in my heart for Community, and to be fair, everyone expects Glee to have song and dance numbers. People never know what to expect with the gang at Community, which is why I give the award to the Greendale crew for their festive, musical Christmas episode.

Best Musical Performance: Michael’s Song, The Office. Again, Glee could have had a shot here, but it’s missing the sentimentality that The Office had as they gave Michael a final musical number before he moved to Colorado, which even became a Moment of the Week here at Raked.

Cutest Reaction to Pregnancy News: Booth, Bones. That smile that filled his entire face at the end of last season? I think it’s what any single girl telling the father of her accidental unborn child hopes for.

Best Episode of the Year: The Pilot, The Killing. The show flunked in its finale, but the first episode was probably one of the most well-done episodes I’ve ever seen. Michelle Forbes alone was incredible. This was the one show I recommended to anyone I saw after the first episode. (If only I knew how the season would end; perhaps I would have altered that recommendation.)

*****

And there’s Part 1!
Check back tomorrow for more 2011 Award Winners!

Christmas Challenge: The Office

THE OFFICE: 3.10 “A Benihana Christmas”

After the distaste in my mouth after watching Parks and Rec‘s “Christmas” episode, I needed to go with one that I thoroughly enjoy. So I went with an oldie but goody episode of The Office.

I went with the season three episode. As much as I liked the “Yankee Swap” episode, Michael is just much more entertaining in this one. Instead of constantly wincing at his bad behavior, you’re actually laughing. Ok, so his behavior is still horrible. After Carol breaks up with him, Michael and the boys go out for lunch and bring back waitresses as their dates. The only bad part? Michael can’t seem to tell them apart.

So, yes, I guess that was wince-worthy. But not in the same way. I mean, in season 1, he was hurting Phyllis. This time, the girls didn’t even know! (Wow, that doesn’t make it better, does it?)

In other news, did anyone else notice that though they say they’re taking the waitresses home, the actresses at the restaurant are not the same ones at the office party. I’m not sure if that was an error on casting part or what. Certainly, the audience can tell the difference, even if Michael can’t.

Poor Michael doesn’t hit it off with his lucky lady, but to him, it’s a “rebound,” so it works out. And hey, it was entertaining to watch.

The other main part of this episode was the fight between two parties. I think this might be the first time we’re really exposed to the dictatorship that is Angela and the Party Planning Committee. Reacting to how unreasonable Angela was during the Christmas party planning, Karen and Pam team up to plan their own party. This is one of the first (and only) times we get to see Karen and Pam as friends, and it’s almost disappointing that Jim gets in the way of that. It was actually really fun to see them interact, and seeing those two counter Angela was just great.

But in the end, the Christmas spirit won out. Pam saw how the other party was hurting Angela, and they combined forces. Everyone’s happy, and even Angela’s singing karaoke Christmas songs (aren’t the best TV Christmas episodes the ones that end in Christmas carols?). Plus, Michael’s off to Jamaica…but with who?

Yep, on top of the humor and glee, we’ve even got a mid-season cliffhanger, one that leads to the worst relationship in Michael’s life.

Recommendation: Given that I clearly had a hard time describing what I liked about this episode, it’s one I enjoy watching all year long, and it does get you in the Christmas spirit. It’s not on the top of my list, but it’s definitely worth watching.

A Chat with Ray Romano

It was once said that everybody loves him, but now we can say that everybody loves him just a bit more. As one of the three main stars of the Peabody Award-winning series, Men of a Certain Age, Ray Romano has certainly found a great place in the TNT lineup. The new season of Men of a Certain Age returns in a mere few weeks with a great season premiere episode on Wednesday, June 1, at 10/9c on TNT.

I was fortunate enough to sit in on a conference call with Ray himself, where he discusses the upcoming season, his upcoming appearance on The Office, and even the Two and a Half Men backstage drama.

Check it out — and more — below!

*****

Now before this show premiered Andre told me that it’s – he said it’s Everybody Loves Raymond if everybody didn’t love Raymond. And obviously, you know, saying that tongue and cheek since, you know, the show revolves around three men. But talk about how you went about portraying this role with a little more drama and stress to it. – Great Falls Tribune

Well, I mean I did what I’ve always done. What we did with Raymond was we wrote what we know. I mean write what you know. That’s what worked for us. And then, of course, we were doing a sitcom so we had to abide by the rules so to speak, you know. We had to heighten it up and broaden up the reactions and the story a little bit. But we kept it as real as we could.

So with this, I approached it just, you know, I was going through this kind of midlife limbo emptiness I guess and so was Mike Royce who was a writer on Raymond and we got together and we talked about, you know, what – you know, “Let’s do something together.” And when we talked about it, we just thought, “Let’s do this. This is what we’re going through, let’s write about it.”

And, you know, we were doing a single camera and we were just doing it, writing what we know but doing it as real as we could and we could play up the subtleties and, yes, there’s drama and there’s also light moments in it, there’s comedy in it but it’s a different type of comedy. It’s a comedy just coming out of the realness of the situation.

And so it was an adjustment to what we had been doing but in a way it was also doing a little bit of the same just in a different genre so to speak. Does that make any sense?

*****

My favorite episode so far has been “Let the Sunshine In.” Can you talk about filming that episode and do you have a favorite episode? – lenalomoray.com

Oh, that’s your favorite episode, yes, okay. Yes, that episode – that’s one of my favorites too. That came about – for those of you that don’t know the episode, it’s where we go on a colonoscopy weekend so to speak where the three guys decide to get colonoscopies and to make it more enjoyable, I guess, they go together to Palm Springs and they rent a hotel – I mean they get a room in a hotel and they make a weekend out of it and they play golf.

And that came – that was inspired by – I heard about that on the, I think it was Leno where Martin Short I believe talked about that he, Tom Hanks and Steve Martin that’s what they did. They didn’t go away. They actually decided it was time and, you know, to make it easier they all did it at the same time. They drank the stuff they got to drink, they played poker all night, they took a limo in the morning to the doctor’s, they went, they did the thing and then after they went out for a big dinner or whatever.

So I just heard of that and I said this would be great for these guys to do. And then it was also it was a combination of two things, the fight scene in that episode, that just simply came from when I was listening to my iPod and I have that song from Hair, “Let the Sunshine…” and I just thought in my mind I thought, “This would be a great song if the guys were in a fight.”

And we wrote that on the board and just “fight/Let the Sunshine In.” And we had no idea what it would be and then when we were writing this show we thought, you know what, we could probably combine the two and it would work organically and that’s how it came out. And, yes, it was – it is – a couple people have said it’s their favorite episode.

There’s one coming up that you might like too, Number 9. I don’t know if you’ve seen the ninth episode but that tends to be a favorite too.

*****

[Read more after the jump!] Continue reading

Moment of the Week: Michael’s Song

There must be something in the water over at The Office. Sure, they might not be the best at coming up with week-to-week comedy, but when they see a big moment coming, they know how to do it.

Actually, this week’s Moment of the Week was incredibly difficult to choose, mainly because there was a lot of great comedy in last night’s NBC lineup (with the exception of The Paul Reiser Show, which I didn’t watch, but the final scene I caught when I flipped back over to watch Parks & Rec was bad enough to make me not regret that decision). Sure, I could have chosen the multiple Jacks on 30 Rock or some great moments on Parks & Rec, or (and this one was a high contender), the cartoon at the end of Community. Now that was one awesome episode, it’s pretty damn hard to compete.

But The Office did it with this surprising musical number at the end of The Office. It certainly grabbed at my heartstrings and it was a good mix of sentimentality and humor — “That’s like watching Die Hard 80,000 times!.” And just seeing Michael tear up, ending the show with, “This is going to hurt like a mother–” was just how we expect next week to be, when we all say good-bye to Michael Scott on The Office.

I know I said I didn’t care. But the show sure is making me change my mind. Kudos, The Office. This is your second week as Moment of the Week, and I present you with Michael’s Song. Watch the video below to see Click the image below to jump to the song itself, or watch the entire episode here.

Remember to call…

Thursday Open Thread: Michael Scott’s Departure

For those of you who didn’t give up reading blogs this Lenten season like a certain Raked blogger I know (*coughcoughJCcoughcough*), you know that what’s to come on The Office is really the question of the month. Who will be the next boss? What’s with all the season finale guest stars? I mean, there was even more hubbub when we finally knew their character names!

Plus, with all the videos running around, I almost wonder if it’s even worth seeing Will Ferrell on tonight’s episode. I mean, have we seen all the clips already? Can’t I just piece them together into the full episode?

Really, all this drama has me asking one thing to the viewers of this beloved series:

Do you care?

Do you care that Michael Scott is leaving Dunder Mifflin? Will you miss Steve Carrell on The Office? It is a rather large change for the series, but it feels as though it might be blown a little out of proportion. I mean, actors leave series all the time, but they all don’t get a TBS marathon two days before. You could argue that TBS is just taking the opportunity — after all, they do air a night full of The Office on Tuesday nights anyway, why not make a theme out of it — but it is adding to a lot of hype.

And if you haven’t realized it yet, I don’t like hype. I get radically turned off my hype. This is probably why I don’t watch Glee (ok, there are a lot of reasons I don’t watch Glee, but that is one of them). Ultimately, I feel like The Office ran its course a long while ago, so continuing on without Michael Scott just feels like they’re trying too hard. Just end the show already. While a new face would certainly add some variety, I’m tired of seeing the same cast of characters outside Michael’s office walls, since there’s really nowhere to go with any of them. Can a new boss really make that much of a difference?

So I guess my answer to this question is “no.” But what about you? Am I being too hard? Is Michael’s moving to Colorado dashing your small town Scranton dreams? Let me know in the comments.

image from tvfantatic.com

Your April Fools Watchlist: Recommended Pranking Episodes

It’s April Fools Day. As a joke, I’m refusing to use the apostrophe in the holiday’s name. That’s right. I’m a riot. What can I say? I’d rather watch than participate. Always the spectator. That’s why I blog.

Anyway, in honor of this holiday of holidays, I’m recommending some of my favorite pranking episodes for you to watch this April 1. Check them out, and recommend more in the comments.

NEWSRADIO
Season 2: The Song Remains the Same

Why not watch an episode that takes place on April Fools Day? Well, almost. In order to get the real element of surprise, Mr. Jimmy plans April Fools in February. This episode is chockfull of pranks, mainly because good ol’ Bill McNeal is being interviewed by a reporter and he refuses to react to any sort of hi jinks. Joe’s really a fun one to watch in this episode, since he’s setting up a lot of these pranks, but it really is a funny episode. Plus, Hulu even has it up for free! Check it out. You don’t need the DVD set (but you might want to have it anyway).

GOOD MORNING, MISS BLISS
Season 1: Practical Jokes

The name of the episode says it all. It’s the annual competition to see who can prank Miss Bliss, and Zach wants all the glory. But Miss Bliss? She just wants to teach her class about the justice system. Of course, Miss Bliss becomes a victim, but Zach wasn’t the prankster. Could Screech be the culprit? Miss Bliss sets up a trial to find out.

SEINFELD
Season 4: The Outing

This one’s really JC’s pick. While hanging out at the diner, Elaine notices a woman eavesdropping on Jerry and George’s conversation. As a prank, Elaine talks to both Jerry and George as if they were a gay couple hiding their relationship from the public eye. The eavesdropping woman turns out to be a reporter who later interviews Jerry for a newspaper story. She writes an article about Jerry and George’s “relationship,” which is soon picked up by the Associated Press and spread all across the country. Hilarity ensues, and George and Jerry spend much of the episode denying that they are gay but insisting “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” A simple little prank by Elaine gives us one of the most memorable Seinfeld quotes ever.

SAVED BY THE BELL
Season 1: Save That Tiger

A prank war develops between Bayside and a rival school, the infamous Valley, and while Mr. Belding isn’t pleased, Valley’s principal loves it and is a jokester himself. Year after year, the prank war escalates. So as Kelly and the girls get ready for a cheerleading competition, Zach and Slater are sneaking around pranking Valley — until they get caught red handed. Or should we say red pawed? After stealing their bulldog mascot, Valley steals Bayside’s, who just happens to be one curly-headed Screech Powers. The show ends with some great generic cheerleading routines that you don’t want to miss.

THE OFFICE
Season 3: The Return

Much like Seinfeld, this episode of The Office only deals with one prank. In this case, it’s Pam and Jim hiding Andy’s cell phone because he’s just being too obnoxious. The phone plays an acapella version of “Rockin’ Robin,” and Jim’s had about enough. But when the fun and games turn to anger management, perhaps his prank has gone too far. I guess there’s a reason Dwight’s always been the target.

Enjoy these episode, and remember, on today of all days, trust no one.

Moment of the Week: Michael’s Proposal on ‘The Office’

I give The Office a hard time. I feel like the show has run its course, and there’s very little more they can do with it. But that’s just my opinion.

But looking at individual moments — moments that you know the show is leading up to and must happen — they know how to get it right. How do you lead up to that moment where Jim finally asks out Pam? Well, make it frantic. The moment she gives up, he pops in the room mid-interview, when you thought he was in New York. Completely unexpected.

How do you have him propose? Some huge romantic gesture that had the potential of being too much or, on the other hand, possibly disappointing the highly expectant fans? Now, you drop it in an episode as a surprising side note so we’re all swept off our feet. It was the least “perfect” moment — at a gas station in the rain — but perfect for the show.

Then there was the wedding, where I had the lowest of the low expectations, knowing how unfunny the jokes had been leading up to it. They blew it out of the water.

Yes, The Office knows how to do big moments, and last night’s proposal did not disappoint. We all knew Holly and Michael had to take the next step somehow, but knowing how over-the-top they make Michael (both he and Holly, really), the prospect of the proposal could have been painful.

But it wasn’t. It was beautiful. The row of people proposing to Holly with her saying no was fantastic, if only that much more funny by Michael’s subtle side notes about each person who was asking. The room with candles was just perfect to add that romantic touch, but we were flooded back into the comedy that is The Office when the sprinklers came on. And then, in the Holly/Michael style, the proposal itself was in a funny voice, and it fit them nicely.

And while the proposal was wonderful, the best part (in my eye) was that startling reveal to the rest of the cast that Michael was leaving. Hey, shock value is always a nice touch.

So enjoy this week’s moment of the week: Michael’s proposal to Holly.

2010 Awards, Part 2

Alright. So you saw the first set, now let’s move on to more! More awards and more reader picks. Once again, if the award has an asterisk, it’s a Reader Pick, with or without my explanation. If they added one, it’s there! If they didn’t, well, that just leaves me to give a reason <malicious laugh>.

So here we go!

The 2010 Awards!
Part 2

Best Guy in a Suit: Neal Caffrey, White Collar. Step aside, Barney. There’s someone else suiting up now, and damn, he looks good.

Best Woman in Heels: Maura Isles, Rizzoli & Isles. This woman sure gets a lot done in four-inch heels and a pressed dress, even when dealing with dead bodies.

* Most Wasted Potential: Glee. It’s true. For a show with a huge fanbase and mad props for creating a new TV genre, they lost their way by focusing on huge guest stars and a big production instead of a cohesive storyline.

Least Necessary Procedural: Law & Order: CSI edition. Oh, is that not a real show? I thought it was. It’s on every night for two hours at least, right? And it airs on every network? Wait, these aren’t all the same show?

Most Ridiculous Premise for a Procedural: Castle. Ok, I know you fans out there must like it, but the idea that a successful novelist gets to spend his time on all these huge cases as a partner of a detective is rather incredible.

Worst Show We’re All Watching: The Office. Where did the funny go? It’s run its course, but we all still watch it. And most of us don’t know why.

Didn’t I Used to Be an Important Character? Award: Alaric, The Vampire Diaries. Well, it’s true, right? Now he’s arm candy, and occasionally says something smart from a book.

Best Vampire Teeth: The Vampire Diaries. With the eyes and the subtle teeth, yes, the vamps in TVD certainly get the prize.

Worst Vampire Teeth: True Blood. I haven’t tried to watch this series, solely because these teeth are so bad and look so fake. Plus, I hear they make a sound when they come out.

Read more after the jump! Continue reading

Five People to See Less of in 2011

Now that we’re coming to the end of 2010, it’s time to start looking back on the year that’s passed and the year to come. Here on Raked, we’ll be doing a few top ten lists and awards for the year, but first up, how about noting the top ten people on our minds? In two posts, we’ll hear the Top Five People We Want to See More of in 2011 and the Top Five People We Want to See Less of in 2011.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Five People We Want to See Less of in 2011

Lea Michele – She may be the new Barbara Streisand with the nose and voice, but she’s certainly not impressing me. Michele is incredibly overexposed since Glee has won a popularity contest as of late. Sure, she’s got a great voice, but with her diva action on screen and off, I’m a bit tired of her. (I’m also tired of seeing her half naked. Just sayin’.)

Gwyneth Paltrow – Choice number two also has overexposure to blame. From her appearance on Glee (which I hear was decent) to her brand-new movie, Paltrow is everywhere, especially where I spend my time the most: the internet. I’m tired of Paltrow headlines and commercials, so let’s just move on. I’m tired of hearing about her comeback. (Sadly, my request might not be granted, what with rumors that she’ll be returning to Glee.)

Steve Carell – I get it. He’s leaving The Office. Can he get gone already? He hasn’t been funny on the show for quite a while (in fact, most of the cast hasn’t), and I don’t understand why people are upset he’ll be gone. I hope he takes a break from my viewing for a while (and takes the rest of the show with him).

Miley Cyrus – Is it just me, or is Hannah Montana Forever just dragging on? Yes, it’s funny that I’m commenting on someone who’s the star of a show that I’m way too old to be watching, but between her presence on the Disney Channel and her misadventures reported on the web, I’m fine with seeing less of her in 2011. In fact, let’s add a few other tween brats to this list, including Victoria Justice (her song sucks), the entire casts of Sonny with a Chance and Step It Up, and any other Disney star who has released a music video on the Disney Channel in the last two months. Oh, and Oliver and Rico, of course.

Jim Parsons – Great as the weirdo roommate on Big Bang, but the minute Sheldon fell into the spotlight, he became overexposed and annoying. The funny went right out the window. But the fans still obsess about him. I’m not entirely turned off from Parsons, but I sure am getting there. If I see less of him in 2011, well, not only would it alleviate some frustration on my end, but it just improve The Big Bang Theory. He should always remain the annoying, quirky sidekick.

I didn’t even touch on reality TV “stars,” so I’m sure there are a lot more we can identify. Maybe that’s another top ten list…

What about you? Who do you want to see less of the in the coming year? Let me know in the comments.

*images from Yahoo! TV and Zap2It