Monday, September 27, 2010

It must be Sweater Vest Weather!

(With some apologies to Mr. Simon and Mr. Garfunkel.)

Hello sweater vest, my old friend
I've come to put you on again
Because a cold front softly creeping
Left its chill while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
A vest of warmth . . . with no sleeves.

Through cubicles I walked alone
Narrow rows of office drones
'Neath the halo of halogen lamps
I flaunt my arms to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of the Xerox light
That split my sight
And touched the hem . . . of my vest.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand sweaters, maybe more
People warming without vesting
Coats a'wearin' without styling
People wearing clothes that Tressel never wears
I only dared
To wear the vest I so loved

"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Sleeveless is the way to go.
View my vest that I might teach you
See my arms? So easy to reach you."
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the coats of cotton they had made
And the wind blew out its warning
Of the front that it was forming
And the wind said, "The words of the prophets are seen on his exposed arms
And V-necked top"
And whispered "Wear the vest . . . you'll love it."

(Want to know more? Read on here.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall TV Preview 2010: CBS

Today I'm going to try to give a quick overview of the new Fall line up for CBS. In the past, I've always watched CBS less than the other networks, as they tended to program for a different, older demographic. But in recent years I've been watching more.

Here's what's up for them:


No new shows on the network for the start of the week. Of course, 60 Minutes anchors the night, starting at 7 pm as it has for decades. The Amazing Race (9/26 @ 8 pm) is back again. If it wasn't for the fact that shows must tape months ahead of time, I would say that this show, which has dominated the Emmy for Reality Programming in the past, would be spoiling for a fight. It lost this year for the first time in many, many years. Undercover Boss (9/26 @ 9pm)did surprisingly well last year. It was the most-watched new reality show, apparently. You can guess what it's about and from that, determine if you want to spend your time on it. Finally . . . wait, let me whip off my sunglasses . . . is CSI: Miami (10/3 @ 10 pm). More murder, more procedures, more jokes and YouTube clips.

Really, what everyone will probably be watching or want to be watching on this night are on other networks. But I'll get to them in another post.


How I Met Your Mother (9/20 @ 8 pm) is back after what I believe was its weakest season last year. In interviews, the show creators say they have learned from those mistakes and will be rectifying them swiftly this year. I just saw a promo for tomorrow night's new episode, and it looks encouraging. There is also Two-and-a-Half Men (9/20 @ 9 pm). I think the half-man gets more involved with girls this year? But will he follow the dating style of the one lecherous man or the other, more timid man? Oh . . . the mind reels. There is a new show for CBS on Monday night, called Mike & Molly (9/20 @ 9:30 pm) in which the two title characters meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Yes, they are overweight, and no it's not Hollywood style "slightly" overweight. They could be contestants on NBC's The Biggest Loser. Hopefully they can mine the comedy for more than fat jokes and focus on character. Because, didn't Hurley teach us anything?

And speaking of Hurley, he brings us back nicely to the big news for CBS--their new Monday show, Hawaii Five-O (9/20 @ 10 pm). It's set in Hawaii, it has Daniel Dae-Kim (Jin from LOST) sticking on the (not THE) island. And it also features Grace Park (Boomer the Cylon from BSG). So, many elements are in place that might make me watch. But . . . I don't know if I'll book it (Danno). I guess it'll depend on how rockin' the theme song remains.


If you like NCIS, you'll like CBS's Tuesday night lineup. Because there is NCIS (9/21 @ 8 pm) and NCIS: Los Angeles (9/21 @ 9 pm). As someone who gave up on most procedurals a few years ago, I don't think these are drawing me very strongly. But, there is the return of The Good Wife, (9/26 @ 10 pm) which some say was pretty good for a new drama last year. If you've got thoughts on these shows, help me fill in the blanks in the comments below.


Do you still watch Survivor (9/15 @ 8 pm)? Well then you don't need me to tell you that it started last week and that it is currently set in Nicaragua. And I'm glad that you already know all of this because I've got nothing else to add. But if you don't like surviving, then maybe you like trying to understand the mysteries of the criminal mind? In that case, you are probably a HUGE fan of Criminal Minds (9/22 @ 9 pm). This show, as you know, tells stories about crime . . . and . . . uh, some other stuff that totallymakes it different than all the other crime dramas that have been on TV since, like forever. And you are a huge fan, aren't you? Finally, there is The Defenders (9/22 @ 10 pm), a show starring Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi as Las Vegas attorneys who will take on any case in Sin City. But you already know that too . . . um, what? You DON'T know that? You mean The Defenders is a new show? But that violates the theme I have established for Wednesday night's CBS overview?!! 


One of my favorite (newish) shows on CBS is The Big Bang Theory (9/23 @ 8 pm). And it used to be on Mondays. But CBS decided to move it to Thursday. Hopefully it won't hurt the show, which just came off of a big Emmy win for Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon. Also of note is the return of semi-regular villain Evil Wil Wheaton, played by Actual Wil Wheaton. Another show on the CBS Thursday lineup is $#"! My Dad Says, (9/23 @ 8:30 pm) the show built originally from the popular Twitter feed. AND it is starring William Shatner as the (shi)titular Dad! What could go wrong with this? (The only thing that I can think of is if NBC decided to put its midseason replacement "Stuff White People Like" up against it come January. (And, yes, I'm kidding ... but it just might actually happen. So, NBC, prepare to hear from my lawyers if you decide to go forward with this. You can't infringe on my creative property.) CSI (9/23 @ 9 pm) is still the anchor (I guess?) of Thursday night and its coming back with an explosive (LITERALLY!) season premiere. And, to round out the night comes The Mentalist (9/23 @ 10 pm). I feel like I ought to be able to make a good joke from that title, but if I couldn't pull it off in previous years, I guess I should just admit defeat and move on.

Oh . . . I forgot why the CSI premiere is IMPORTANT. It marks the acting debut of Justin Bieber! (I know, right?) I guess CBS is wanting to rename Thursday Must Tweet TV? And who knows . . . if he's a hit, maybe they'll revive an old show and rename it Leave it to Bieber.


There are three shows in the CBS end-of-the-week schedule, but (as I seem to be typing throughout these things) only one of them is new. I know that networks are in trouble and that all the creative, really-want-to-watch stuff is on cable these days . . . but it feel like the Big 4 1/2 just aren't really trying anymore.

But here's what there is: Medium (9/24 @ 8 pm) is back again and the most significant new thing seems to be that the family is growing up. And doesn't it seem odd that a show built on the premise of supernatural stuff is being described in terms of a typical family drama? Where is the hook that makes it stand out? Oh . . . wait, here it is . . . over here with the two-hour block of CSI: New York (9/24 @ 9 pm) and Blue Bloods (9/24 @ 10 pm). What is the hook you ask? Well, both are set in New York--the only city that ever mattered, and both are police-based dramas. One is more procedural (CSI) and the other is more character-driven (Blue Bloods). One is starring Gary Sinise and the other has . . . wait for it . . . Tom Selleck! Still don't see the hook? Well, CBS is marketing these shows as a block of NY crime time or some such goofy conglomerate idea like that. It's lazy and all that. But when you're trying to find a way to get people to watch on Friday night . . . you'll do anything. Heck, NBC used to do it with its own Thrillogy slogan for The Profiler, Pretender, and that other show I don't remember.

So, that's it because I don't think CBS has anything on Saturday and neither does anyone else. It's just football and other reruns of junk.

Have we learned anything from this? I think all that I have learned is that nothing on CBS is likely to draw me in that I'm not already committed to. I don't think that I'm going to get involved in Hawaii Five-O, just because all I'll do is think of LOST. And I'm already going to be watching Castle over on ABC instead. (Assuming, of course, that I'm ever actually watching TV when it airs live . . . as I'll either be putting kids to bed or doing office work into the wee hours of the morning.)

But that's just me. Does any of this look appealing to you? Give me comments and tell me what I missed out of or what you really like to watch.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

"That was one of the strangest movie experiences I've ever had," was what Lynda said as the credits were rolling Saturday night and we finished watching Edgar Wright's new film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

And it wasn't really about the movie--though it was strange . . . fabulously, creatively strange.

No, the really odd things that were going on were in the theater itself, in front of the movie screen.

1. First, we were the only two in the theater (at least until the previews were just about to begin). And I was not entirely surprised that we walked into a vacant theater. After all, though "Pilgrim" has gotten generally strong critical reviews, the box office has been disappointing--at least on Summer standards. Plus, the movie has been out for about two months, so most people are done seeing it. But eventually more people did arrive, robbing Lynda and I of our date-night, movie-watching privacy.

2. The people who came in first were kind of loud, boisterous dudes. They sat behind us at the top of the theater's incline. And we feared they would disrupt the movie. Nothing of the kind, though. They were suitably quiet. Far quieter than . . .

3. The people down at the bottom of the theater's slope who brought their fussy baby (?!) with them. Or . . .

4. The other family that included two pre-K kids.  It was just odd.

5. And that doesn't even begin to explain the other two who were quiet . . . but just happened to be wearing head gear that seemed to have horns sticking out from the sides. (Was the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes in town or something?)

But ANYWAY . . .

the movie was excellent. My 140 character review, I think summed up the movie's strongest visual & story components.

And though I am not a Michael Cera apologist, I liked his character quite a bit. Plus, as a fan of (Nickelodeon's) Avatar: The Last Airbender and Arrested Development, I enjoyed seeing Mae Whitman (voice of Katara & persona of Anne Veal). I also thought Brandon Routh's evil ex character was the funniest of them all. But perhaps that is because they played off of his Superman credentials?

I have not yet read the graphic novels, but I will get around to doing so as soon as I can.

Go see it and put some money toward good, creative, movie-making.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

30 for 30: Unmatched

This week's ESPN Films offering in the 30 for 30 series is Unmatched, a film reviewing the decade-and-a-half rivalry (and even longer friendship) between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

Beginning in the late 1970s and stretching to the end of the 1980s, these two women battled back and forth across the world and the tennis rankings to be the number one women's player. They met 80 different times, 14 of them being in Grand Slam final, and their rivalry and respect for one another defined their careers.

The information of this film is old news, but what made this film different was its method. The filmmakers put these two together in a North Carolina coastal bungalow, turned on the cameras, and filmed a weekend of remembrances. The people behind the camera edited out their questions, presenting a film with only two voices--those of Martina and Chris.

It was, undeniably, a film targeted at more of a female audience than any of the previous films in this series (and NOT just because of the women's tennis subject matter). But I liked it quite a bit--even though I am not a woman. The height of their rivalry, in the 80s, was when I cared about tennis the most as a spectator, so I was very familiar with the subject matter.

If you get a chance to watch Unmatched, I recommend you take the hour.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall TV Preview 2010: ABC

That giant sucking sound that you hear is the vast hole that LOST left in the ABC programming schedule. Over the past six years, ABC counted on a guaranteed ratings hit every week that the show was on. But that time is done and ABC must turn the corner and think of something else to generate critical buzz, fan excitement, and advertising cash.

Do you think they can do it?

I've spend a few minutes looking over their weekly programming schedule and . . . well, the best thing that I think they've got going for them now is the Wednesday night lineup of comedies, anchored by Modern Family. which returns for its second season fresh from its Emmy win.

I haven't watched Modern Family, so I am not qualified to truly speak on the show. But if it won an Emmy, it must be quality, right? (Don't believe it for a second. I point you to many, many years of Emmy wins for Everybody Loves Raymond.)

Here's a breakdown, night by night.


Nothing is new on this night. If you have watched TV at all in the past decade, you know all about America's Funniest Home Videos (really? still?), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (the only nice thing I'll say here is that the longer the show is on, the greater the chance they'll eventually get to my house), Desperate Housewives (plastic surgery is the key to keeping this show relevant, I think), and Brothers and Sisters (I have no opinion).

Dancing with the Stars rules this night from 8-10 pm. And then Castle returns for another (third?) season.   When I've watched Castle, I've liked it . . . and I have always appreciated the presence of Buffy & Firefly alum Nathan Fillion. But I've never scheduled Castle as appointment TV--and haven't programmed my DVR to capture it. But . . . with LOST not in the rotation anymore, maybe there is room on the machine for something pretty worthy? Otherwise, Monday isn't very interesting.

And here is where we get to our first new shows to consider on ABC, at 8 pm and 10 pm. The nine o'clock hour has something else to do with Dancing with the Stars, about which I will say no more.

No Ordinary Family is about Michael Chikls returning to TV after the finally wrapped up The Shield. And his character is a police sketch artist. (Really? I've not hung out at police departments, but do the sketch artists look like Chiklis? Now . . . if he stabs suspects with his charcoal pencil . . . then maybe.) Oh, but wait. The title is No Ordinary Family. And what makes them extraordinary? Super powers!

No, I'm serious.

He gets strength. His scientist wife gets superspeed . . . and yes, this might sound a lot like The Fantastic Four. But get over it. And I'm kinda skeptical. September 28 @ 8 pm

The other new show is Detroit 187 a show that was originally going to be shot The Office documentary style, following Michael Imperioli's interrogator and his partner as they dealt with police procedural injustices back and forth across 8 Mile. But then reality got in the way when an actual girl was killed during an actual A&E documentary about Detroit cops. And so the pilot was reedited and some parts reshot. Can it still be compelling if its just like everything that came before it? September 21 @ 10pm

The Middle returns for its second season, but I can't say more about it than that.

A new show called  Better With You tells funny tales about three couples at different points in their romantic relationships. I think you'd get a better show if you took asked Paul and Jamie Buchman (of one of my favorite shows, Mad About You) and put them in a time machine back to the start and midpoint of the series. September 22 @ 8:30

Modern Family and Cougar Town are the anchors around this night for ABC. Both shows are (seemingly?) well received and people like them. But I've got to wonder about Cougar Town (a returning show from last year in which Courtney Cox plays an older woman always on the prowl for younger sexual conquests--or at least that was it was about in the beginning; I'm sure it's gotten deeper and richer since fulfilling its initial pitch.

ANYWAY . . . all of the promos for Cougar Town, to this point, have bent over backwards to remind us that sometime during this season, Jennifer Aniston will show up to have (more than?) one Very Special Episode with her former Friend.

And the world awaits . . .

The Whole Truth is cranked out by Jerry Bruckheimer's Hit Factory. Positive aspect: It's got Maura Tierney. Middlin' aspect: It's got Rob Morrow. Negative aspect: It's the one millionth televised drama about the courtroom. (And yes, I'm counting Night Court as part of that list.) September 22 @ 10 pm

The majority of the content of this night is devoted to Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. At this point, who cares?

My Generation sounds like a semi-high-concept show that ABC might hope can give the network some credibility against critics that say nothing "important" is ever on TV anymore. But that is only what it sort of sounds like. It is a fictional show shot in faux-documentary style (a la The Office . . . and once, Detroit 187) that "catches up" with nine high school graduation from Texas a decade later. Expect it to be ignored by Thanksgiving. September 23 @ 8 pm

If you watch TV on Friday, then you might be interested to know that ABC is returning 20/20 for yet another year at 10 pm. But it'll never be as critically hailed as 60 Minutes or even as "of the moment" as Dateline NBC used to be. And you know what . . . 20/20 damn well knows that . . . and is crying about it right now in the bathroom.

Secret Millionaire is a new show that sounds like someone got their Joe Millionaire peanut butter in their Undercover Boss chocolate. But, it is a show about . . . well, I'm confident that my intelligent readers can figure out what it is. And I'm also confident that no one will care, except perhaps the ghosts of Andrew Carnegie and Jacob Riis. _____? @ 8 pm

And finally, there is Body of Proof, a show that is notable for the presence of Dana Delany (who I once liked in China Beach long ago) and Jeri Ryan (who I also liked as Voyager's Seven of Nine). Delany plays a former surgeon who was sidetracked by an accident and became a medical examiner. _____? @ 9 pm

But, well, it's Friday night and no one will watch and neither of these shows were even approved by ABC fast enough to be listed in the Fall TV preview issue. So . . . take that for what you will.

ABC Saturday Night Football . . . and then whatever else comes along in the winter of 2011.

So, ABC has, in my opinion a very ordinary lineup coming out next week. It's midweek lineup will likely be the saving grace. And I may give Castle a whirl. But all I can say is Jack, Hurley, Kate, and Sawyer aren't walking back through that door folks.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall TV Preview 2010: The Cable Edition

So, several days ago, I tweeted this.

And it is sadly true that the middle of September is nearly upon us and I haven't even begun researching network Web sites or buying TV Guide or wondering when the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV preview issue would be hitting the mailbox. (Well, that last one is actually true . . . but I am trying to not rely on other people's journalism so much that I don't have any reason to do this stuff myself . . . )

So . . . anyway, I realized that the Fall TV season is rapidly approaching and I really need to get to work on my annual Fall TV Preview posts. (It is the ONLY regular tradition of this six-year-old blog after all.) And then my colleague Hapless23 expressed that he actually liked my TV Preview posts.

Now, nothing motivates me more than flattery . . . and the weekend is finally upon us . . . and I'm pretty tired of doing, thinking, worrying, and dreaming about the office. So, I am going to spend some time this weekend getting my TV ducks in a row and trying to get at least one post done for one network before Monday roles around again. (I don't anticipate doing any more than that, since . . . well . . . the office isn't going away and I will need to be spending some time on that stuff also.)

But YOU deserve my thoughts on TV.

And since he said he likes it, Hapless is going to get some face time here on WWYG?! (So, the lesson is . . . when you flatter me, you get rewarded.) I am letting him guest blog the first of the Fall TV posts. And he's going to handle cable shows for me. I've never blogged on the cable shows in the past, mostly because cable wasn't quite the phenomenon it is now back when Why Won't You Grow?! first launched. And, even in those carefree days . . . I just didn't devote the time and effort to teasing my way through all of the cable network variety. But now that Hapless has offered to handle it for me . . . well, why should I have to?

So . . . with no more preamble, I'm going to stop my typing and cut-and-paste his Cable TV Overview for 2010.

Take it away, Hapless! (And thanks for the help.)

Every year I eagerly await David’s preview of the upcoming TV season. Because he only does the upcoming broadcast schedule--and because my blog is long dead--I cajoled him into letting me preview the best of cable. Because he hasn’t previewed cable before I will be liberal about what I include. Without further ado here we go (alphabetical by channel):


The Walking Dead: A gory looking adaptation of a popular graphic novel about a Zombie infestation in Atlanta, Georgia. Shirtless is excited about it. I’m going to give it a shot. Premieres Oct 31

Mad Men: John Hamm and Elizabeth Moss have been on fire this season. Christina Hendricks is an attractive lady and darn fine actress to boot (Plus, Firefly alum!) Ongoing

Rubicon: I don’t know what this show is about. It’s on after Mad Men and one of my friends likes it. Sorry, I can only watch so much TV. Ongoing

AMC Show that isn’t a Fall show that you should watch anyways: Breaking Bad: Bryan Cranston has cancer and manufactures meth. His brother-in-law is a DEA agent. Hi-jinks ensue. Put it on your Netflix queue and so you can be caught up when it comes back in June.

BBC America:

Top Gear: I got David to watch this, but now you should too! 3 Brits: a short guy, a tall overweight jingoist and a classically trained pianist do things with cars.

Luther: Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from The Wire, also Michael's replacement on the Office when Michael started the Michael Scott Paper Company) stars in a physiological thriller. I have no idea if it will be good, but Idris Elba is amazing.


Top Chef, Top Chef: Just Deserts: 1 episode left till the Season Finale. Personally I don’t understand cooking shows. If I can’t taste it how can I tell if its good? Ongoing/Premieres soon

The Search for the Next Great Artist: This show was surprisingly enjoyable. Plus you can judge the art for yourself.

Cartoon Network:

Venture Brothers: Take Johnny Quest, age him 40 years after his adult life turns out a failure. Give him two dumb but enthusiastic children. Enjoy! Returns September 12

Children’s Hospital: This was originally a web-only series done by Rob Corddry. It’s bizarre in a good way. Ongoing

Comedy Central:

Big Lake: This show is almost good, but it’s really not at all. It’s missing something, but I couldn’t tell you what it is. It has a laugh track, so that doesn’t help. Ongoing

South Park: If you don’t know what this is or whether you like it or not, you probably shouldn’t be reading this. Returns October 6

Tosh.0: Daniel Tosh makes fun of clips on the Internet. If you like Internet memes and Daniel Tosh this show is for you. Must be able to handle images of puke. Ongoing

Discovery Channel:

Mythbusters: 2 guys bust myths. Also: Explosions Returns next week, I believe

Dirty Jobs: Former Opera singer goes around and does dirty jobs. Over time the jobs have become less dirty. Mike Rowe’s voice alone makes this show worth watching. Ongoing

Direct TV:

Friday Night Lights: This will appear on ABC at some point. I stopped watching after the second season made a few questionable character choices, but from everything I’ve read its rectified its mistakes and is as good as ever. Even if you could care less about High School football give it a chance, it’s a stunningly well crafted series, and Kyle Chandler is fantastic. Returns October 27


30 on 30: A series of short films on a sports-related topics chosen by famous filmmakers. Bill Simmons masterminded it. I haven’t watched it but David has. Ask him. [I agree that it is interesting and variety-filled. But I am a Bill Simmons fanboy, so . . . take that for what you think it is worth.--DTM] Ongoing


Terriers: It’s about two somewhat competent small time detectives. It looks pretty good, and is getting favorable press. So maybe check it out? Premiered September 8

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Do you like watching horrible people do horrible things to each other in the most hilariously offensive fashion possible? Then this show is for you. If you don’t like these things, I’m sorry, I can’t be your friend anymore. Also, it has Danny Devito, that’s got to be worth something, right? Returns September 16

The League: I only started watching this show late into its first season because, honestly a show about people playing fantasy football sounded terrible. Even the commercials being voiced by Space Ghost couldn’t hook me. It turns out this show is very funny. It’s worth a look if you like to laugh. Returns September 16

Sons of Anarchy: Critics say this show ranks up there with Breaking Bad and Mad Men. That should be enough for you people. (I haven’t watched it but it’s in my instaqueue, so next season I will be ready to give a fuller review.) [So, you are already assuming that you've got next year's writing slot wrapped up, huh? I like your moxie, kid . . . but don't get cocky! --DTMReturned September 8

FX Shows that aren’t fall shows but should be on your radar because of how good they are: Archer (H. Jon Benjamin and about half the cast of Arrested Development are cartoon spies), Justified (Timothy Oliphant is a trigger happy lawman), Louie (Louis CK does stand up and short sketches. Sometimes brutally funny, sometimes poignant, always good), Rescue Me (Shirtless says this show is good. I hear the latest season was not, but it’s only got one more season left, so give it a shot then or never)


Boardwalk Empire: I don’t have HBO anymore, but I wish I did, because this show looks great. Steve Buscemi is the boss of prohibition era Atlantic City. Do I need to say more? Yes? Look, HBO knows how to do period dramas (Deadwood) and has the budget to do it well. You should watch it if you have premium cable. Premieres September 19

Eastbound and Down: This show gets lots of good press. I found it largely too uncomfortable to be enjoyable. Your mileage may vary. Returns September 26

Bored to Death: The title of this show was far too accurate for me. I still watched the entire season, so make of that what you will. Returns September 26


The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret: David Cross and Will Arnett star in this show. If you don’t watch Archer maybe you can get your Arrested Development fix this way? It looks better than Running Wilde. Premieres October 1


Project Runway: This season is delightful if you like malapropisms and people who lack self-awareness. Ongoing


Dexter: This series kind of lost me after season 2, but John Lithgow was fantastic last season and it ended on a high note, so maybe it has life in it yet. Returns September 26

The Big C: From the reviews of this show, I am forced to conclude it is American Beauty but as a TV show and with a woman lead.


Ghost Hunters/Destination Truth: Do you like paranormal stuff with reasonably charismatic hosts? These are the shows for you. Personally I think its hokum, but they have fun toys, so I’m in. Ongoing/returns soon