Saturday, September 24, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016--Bye week


During every football season, there is a week with no game. It's called a bye week.

Since I am travelling this weekend, this is going to be my bye week.

And wouldn't you know it ? When I went looking for an image to illustrate this post, Google images served up something that I created and used just two years ago!

I'm really making a difference in this world.

So, that's it for this week. Remember . . . no one cares--well, you can make up the rest. It's my bye week.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016--Week 3

Have I talked about the concept of "birthday time" yet on the blog?

I seem to remember tweeting a screen shot illustrating the idea once, but I don't know if I actually explained what it meant.

Can you guess?

It's pretty simple really . . . you convert what month and day you were born into corresponding hours and minutes. That is your "birthday time." For example, I was born on October 17. So, my birthday time is 10:17.

What is the value of this fact? (Or maybe it should be called a concept since it isn't any sort of recognized thing . . . but merely a quirk that I have--one that I would like to turn into a more recognized thing.)

Andbutso . . . the value of knowing this? Truly there isn't much--obviously, or I guess more people would do something with it and there would be lines of greeting cards centered around it or some other relevant commercialization of it.

No, it's just something I started doing mentally in my head and I taught my children to pay attention to it. For no other reason that it makes me momentarily happy to look at a clock when it randomly indicated 10:17 and think silently to myself "Hey, it's birthday time."

Maybe that makes me monstrously self-centered? Or maybe it just makes garden variety narcissistic. Or maybe it means nothing at all. But I know that I like it when I hear my children from across the room acknowledge "Birthday Time!" when the happen to notice it on the clock. Not that they always do so . . . but it makes my heart beat a bit whenever it does happen.

We all want to make a difference in some way, I guess. To prove that we existed and that our lives were not just a flash in a long string of others, with no lasting consequence. Maybe this is mine?

So . . . anyway . . . maybe twenty years from now when you feel obligated to send Hallmark Greeting Cards twice-daily text messages to people to celebrate their Birthday Time, you can thank me for the obligation.

And remember--no one cares if your college's field goal kicker great up in Melbourne and didn't know who David Hasselhoff was until last year. He still can't reliably hit a 40 yard field goal when the wind is blowing left-to-right.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fall TV Preview 2016: My Shows that are a STOP!

This year, instead of focusing my posts on networks, or nights of the week, or some other organizational principle, I'm grouping shows into three main categories: GO! CAUTION! or STOP!

Today I'm going to talk about the shows that I think are big, bright STOP's! You've been warned!

Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men, LIVE! (NBC; coming soon?)
There are so many dangerous things about that title in bold above. Aaron Sorkin; LIVE!; NBC. All warning signs that you need to stay away.

The Blacklist: Redemption (NBC, coming soon?)
I don't know if The Blacklist was any good, but I heard some people say that it was good. But I'm not too psyched about the idea of taking a marginally successful show and trying to generate a spinoff Dick Wolf style. The fact that it is not scheduled for Fall release is also worrisome to me. Is NBC so successful all of a sudden that they don't NEED lots of new shows in the Fall season?

The NEW Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, Mondays, January 2 @ 8)
The show that brought us Gozer the Gozarian in the form of Donald Trump, GOP candidate for the White House, is retooling itself with Arnold Schwartzenegger in the big chair. Will he say "You're Fired!" or will he say "Come with me if you want to profit." I'll never know because I'll never watch.

Emerald City (NBC; Fridays, January 6 @ 9 pm new)
High concept. Genre. Whichever category you want to put this show in, I'm uncomfortable predicting it as a success. Did NBC try to make this into one of its LIVE events and then shift gears and turn it into a series? I'm skeptical. And it's on Fridays. There are many "coming soon" shows on NBC and they are waiting in the wings precisely because of these kinds of adventurous ideas.

Trial and Error (NBC, coming soon)
Why waste any time or words telling you how bad this show is, when a picture will prove it so much more definitively than anything that I could possibly say? I won't even bother trying to give you a plot. Any plot you imagine from this set up shot is likely to appear if the show is given enough time.

No Tomorrow (The CW Tuesdays@ 9, new)
As the title might lead you to guess, this is a show influenced by a fictional apocalypse. But . . . it's a comedy! But really, the most comedic thing about it is the tortured description sentences someone had to bend themselves into pretzels to write: "When a risk-averse female procurement manager at an Amazon-like distribution center falls in love with a man who lives life to the fullest because he believes the apocalypse is imminent, it leads to comedic and poignant results as they embark on a quest to fulfill their individual bucket lists."

Now, you all know that here at WWYG?! I deal in only the best prose. (I once considered my blog tag line should be All Killer; No Filler; so you know that I'm right when I tell you that this description is a problem.

Frequency (The CW Wednesdays @ 9, new)
You may remember the movie this show is based upon--child mysteriously contacts dead father through ham radio. Well, this show is the same, but the unintended consequences for the mystical radio broadcasts create problems that need to be resolved. I guess you could take the spirit of Early Edition (remember that show?) and mix in some wackiness of this year's NBC show Timeless. But I don't think this one is for me.

[Editor's note: I feel sorry that I am putting a STOP sign in front of both of The CWs new shows for this fall. But, then again, I'll be visiting the network frequently to watch its bevy of superhero offerings: Supergirl (rescued from CBS for season 2), Arrow (yes . . . still), and The Flash (definitely). But I won't be watching Legends of Tomorrow any longer. Beyond the tights and capes shows, I'll gladly come back for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as well. So . . . I'll definitely be spending time on this mini-network this year.]


I've decided to stop watching The Big Bang Theory. I have ceased to laugh at the shows humor and don't see any reason to continue. Besides, I can most likely catch the seasons I will miss in endless syndication somewhere during my next decade of TV watching.

Similarly, I've given up on Quantico (ABC Fridays @ 10). But really, I gave up on this show after the initial spurt of new shows during the first half of its premiere season. It just didn't grab my attention and I didn't care about the characters who were all portrayed as liars and cheats--some of whom were involved in a terrorist bombing in New York? And the others were being trained as FBI agents and were also trying to figure out which of their classmates did it? (Sorry, I have already spend too many words on this. Dropped.)

And so, that is it for this Fall. I hope you learned something. Let me know in comments if you like a show that I panned. I'd love to hear other opinions.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fall TV Preview 2016: My Shows that are a CAUTION!

I've been writing posts about new Fall TV since the start of this blog. And every year, I try to present my inconsequential thoughts with a different spin. So, for 2016, instead of focusing my posts on networks, or nights of the week, or some other organizational principle, I'm grouping shows into three main categories: GO! CAUTION! or STOP!

Today I'm going to talk about the shows that I think are CAUTION's! Tread lightly when you start investigating these shows.

Timeless (NBC; Mondays, October 3 @ 10 pm new)
This is cautionary because NBC has a history of providing genre shows that don't really work out in the end. (Revolution, for example.) And, I spent more time than I should have last year getting disappointed by The CW's Legends of Tomorrow--another show where time travelers have some scientific way to investigate the past to right wrongs and have excuses to dress up in period costumes. The green screen budget for this show will probably be high. But how much of that money should have gone to the writing staff?

The Good Place (NBC; Mondays, September 19 @ 10 pm new) 
Shows with a high-concept hook like The Afterlife seem dangerous. (Sorry if that is a spoiler.) And the NBC promo page for this show is making me remember Go On with Matthew Perry, but I can't explain to you why that is. And I don't like the idea of Ted Danson always wearing a bow tie. Is he some sort of wacky angel? But having said all that . . . this show might be good? Proceed at your own risk is what I'm saying.

The Wall (NBC, coming soon)
It's a game show. And it's hosted by Chris Hardwick. I only place it here in the CAUTION! area because I have good will towards Chris Hardwick.

Taken (NBC, coming soon)
Sure, "Every hero has a beginning." But there are reasons why there are no epic poems written about how nobel Achilles was potty trained. That is why "80s movies montages" yada yada'd the acquisition of skills and equipment before the start of the big final battle sequence. We don't need to learn how the Liam Neeson stand-in acquired his fabled "very particular set of skills". That's boring. But something on NBC has to last for a while, right? And people really do seem to like these movies. (And you can bet that Fox is hoping people like TV shows based on movies.)

Pitch (Fox, Thursdays @ 9, new)
What if a female athlete was able to pitch in the major leagues? That is the premise of this show. And I just don't know if it will be good. So, I will put it here in the CAUTION! category. But it does make me wonder what would have to happen before this does occur in the United States. How long do you think something like this might take--or do you think it simply will NEVER occur?


Gotham (Fox, Mondays @ 8)
I'll watch this show for one more season to see what it does. I HATE that they brought back Jada Pinckett Smith as Fish Mooney. But maybe the writers will think of something that might be interesting? And I need to give Dean some reason to feel superior to me.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, Tuesdays @ 10)
This feels like it might be the last run for this show--which doesn't really feel essential at all and doesn't really need to exist to provide synergy for the MCU anymore. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a well-oiled machine churning out fun movies that make hundreds of millions of dollars when people say it wasn't that good. So, no . . . Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is unnecessary. Why not replace it with reruns of Alias? I'd definitely watch THAT over again!

Superstore (NBC, Thursdays @ 8)
Honestly, I've never watched this show. But I have a mysterious emotional soft spot towards it. Maybe that is because the dude from Mad Men and A to Z is a main character? (I still wish NBC had given A to Z more time to settle down. It could have been a millennial Mad About You.)
Or maybe Superstore just reminds me of the Buy More scenes from Chuck? But this show might be worth some of my least essential time, so maybe I'll drop in on a few episodes to see what it is like.

Damning with faint praise is what the CAUTION! category is all about.

Tune back in tomorrow when we get to the Red light. Problems will abound.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fall TV Preview 2016: My Shows that are a GO!

Every year since I started this blog, I've devoted some end of summer posts to the upcoming Fall TV shows that are being offered on the networks--and to a lesser extend on cable (and more recently on streaming services). Dean has once again offered up his thoughts on a variety of shows--and I thank him for his contribution again this year. He even decided to mix it up in the network choices a bit this year.

In search of yet another thematic hook, I've decided to present my own offerings in a slightly different way this year. Instead of focusing my posts on networks, or nights of the week, or some other organizational principle, I'm grouping shows into three main categories: GO! CAUTION! or STOP! I doubt I need to explain which types of shows go in which category.

Today I'm going to talk about the shows that I think are GO's! Set aside some time and watch these shows and see if you might enjoy them.

This is Us (NBC; Tuesdays, September 20 @ 10 pm new)
My cynical nature is telling me to hesitate putting this in the Go! category. But the creators of this show are connected to Crazy Stupid Love, which is a movie that I rather enjoy. So maybe this will be okay? No, I need to be more confident in this recommendation. It's going to be good! It's got Sterling K. Brown, who was really good on "The People vs. O.J. Simpson". This is the sort of show that critics really want to like!

(A few days later. . .)

[Can I be honest for a bit, while we are getting into this? Maybe it was the worst idea to start with the tire fire that is the NBC network, but I'm not finding lots of shows that I can confidently put in the GO! category. This predicament is putting me in an uncomfortable situation where I am second-guessing myself and wondering if I should start taking some flyers on other shows that might be a GO, but probably will not be . . .]

For instance--

Powerless (NBC, Coming soon . . .)
This is the DC Universe's first effort into TV shows (unless you ignore the existence of Supergirl, right? Oh . . . wait, this show is a comedy, so that is what sets it apart from Supergirl. Okay.). At least, that is what the show is proclaiming in the first sentence of its description. Things in the show's favor? It's based on an established I.P. so maybe it has some good stories to work from. And two of the actors on the show are Danny Pudi and Alan Tudyk. But, the main character is played by Vanessa Hudgens. And most damning of all, this is a superhero show told from the lame normal perspective of non-superheroes. And that simply can't be any fun at all in the long run. But . . . I'll try to be positive, I guess.

Running Wild with Bear Grylls (NBC, Mondays @ 10 pm, new)
Sorry that I didn't let you know that this show was already underway. But you should start watching now. And this is not a half-hearted recommendation to fit something into the GO! category. This is Bear Grylls hosting an outdoor adventure show WITH CELEBRITIES! You want to see Shaquille O'Neal try to hike? You want to see Olympic skier Lyndsay Vonn mountain climb? This is Celebrity Apprentice mixed with a lot of Fear Factor. This is a Stephen King novella concept turned into a TV show. This is America.

Speechless (ABC, Wednesdays @ 8:30, new)
This show centers on a family dealing with a child who has cerebral palsy. The drama focuses on Minnie Driver's efforts to find the best family situation for her, her other children, and their life. This show could be a good one, because ABC usually does well with dramas. The network doesn't sensationalize them so much--which could easily be done with this subject matter. And I like that the life of the handicapped is a central part of this show. We need more perspective on this subject in today's media.

Atlanta (FX, Tuesdays @ 10, new)
Dean already mentioned this on his post giving his opinions about the Fall. But I wanted to say that I've watched the first two episodes of Donald Glover's show--which he called "Twin Peaks with rappers." And while the description is misleading for the totality of what this show is, those words do provide some explanation for the feeling of parts of each episode. I've really enjoyed Atlanta so far, and my one tip to you is to turn on closed captioning to capture all of the dialog and slang that I could not catch on speakers alone.

Better Things (FX, Thursdays @ 10, new)
This is another show that Dean recommended. I decided to try it, since I enjoyed Louie in the early seasons. Pam Adlon does a good job portraying a harried mom of three girls, and the kids are good enough in their scenes. If you liked/like Louie, you'll most likely enjoy this show--which is definitely a branch of Louis C.K.'s TV tree.

Marvel's Luke Cage (Netflix, streaming September 28)
I don't know how many more of these shows Netflix can keep making. And these types of superhoro shows are of varying degrees of quality. But Jessica Jones was really, really good. And I still like bits of Daredevil (thought I wish season 2 had featured more Kingpin.)
I hope Luke Cage will be as good as Daredevil season 2. If it reaches the level of Jessica Jones, then I'll be very happy.

Westworld (HBO, premieres Oct. 2)
This looks very good! I really hope it is as good as the loooong commercials make it appear. But I am ready to enjoy it. It can't be compared to The Night Of . . . because the genres are very, very different. But the level of the cast and the amount of detail put into it should make for glitzy entertainment.


New Girl (Fox, Tuesdays @ 8:30)
This show will continue to be fun to watch--as long as the creators don't waste the beautiful character of Winston Bishop. We can all use more Winnie the Bish!

blackish (ABC, Wednesdays @ 9:30)
I've really enjoyed blackish and I appreciate the chances it took in telling fun stories with a purpose. It has always been fun to watch and consistently makes me laugh and chuckle. (Yes, I regret mis-characterizing the show in my initial review of it when it was a new show. I was very wrong.)

Elementary (CBS, Thursdays @ 10)
I still enjoy this show--which is nothing more than a police procedural dressed up with some "literary" pedigree. Good cast and solid writing make it fun to watch week in and week out.

You're the Worst (FXX, Wednesdays @ 10)
This is definitely NOT the show for everyone. The characters are gross reprobates, but the ideas and the writing are very, very funny. If you want shows that make you laugh and then make you cringe--this is a good show for you. But you've got to know your audience. I always check with Lynda to see if she's okay to watch it with me. Not at all a show for the easily offended.

So . . . these are the shows that I am comfortable recommending to you. Not a very long list. I'm afraid that more will be featured in the CAUTION and STOP columns that will post on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But I didn't even really TRY to cover all of TV. Dean hit some shows on other networks and streaming services, so be sure to watch what he had to say. And you should probably also check out what professional critics think about the new shows coming up for the Fall. After all, they get paid to be thorough about this stuff. I just do it for fun.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016--Week 2

Welcome back everyone to another futile attempt by me to distract you from the hegemonic power of weekend college football. It's another episode of Football Counter-Programming!

So . . . last week, a neighbor friend saw the shirt above and asked me what it meant. At the time, I brushed it off because neither of us had lots of time. So I simply said, "It's a long story." To which she rightly responded, " It always is with you."

And I took that as a win because I DO enjoy having an inscrutable t-shirt with obscure references. 

But now--the story can be told. 

SO--a few years ago, a YA author I follow on Twitter (Maureen Johnson) mentioned that she had been asked to participate in a local New York charity Scrabble tournament. She was a last minute fill-in for another celebrity that ended up not being able to attend. As you can guess, that was Peter Dinklage--the actor now best known as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones. But before he was paying his Lannister debts, Dinklage was best known as Finn--the star of the movie The Station Agent.

Round about the time that The Station Agent was in theaters and being discussed in the media, my friends and I had a random email discussion. In that email discussion, we were all trying to determine which celebrities each of us looked like. And people decided that I looked more like Peter Dinklage than anyone else--perhaps due to our shared trait of strong, heavyish eye brow ridges . . . and his propensity to play surly characters. (I am sometimes know to be surly around the office as well.)


Andbutso . . . due to all of this backstory--when I saw that Maureen Johnson was filling in for Peter Dinklage at a celebrity Scrabble tournament . . . and when I saw that she joked about how she should wear a "Peter Dinklage Replacement" t-shirt at said celebrity Scrabble tournament . . . and when another one of her readers at decided to quickly put said t-shirt on sale . . . and when Maureen tweeted all of this out and said that some of the t-shirt sales proceeds would be given to the charity that the celebrity Scrabble tournament was being held to benefit . . . and when I remembered my coworker's email exchange vis-a-vie shared traits with Mr. Dinklage . . . well, I think you're smart enough to fill in the blanks, yes?

So  . . ANYWAY . .  that is the story of my Peter Dinklage t-shirt. I should probably alter the shirt to include the URL of this post (or maybe put a small QR code on the sleeve) so that people can simply Google the relevant story next time this comes up in conversation while I am wearing it out and about.

(It should be an eventual life goal of mine to cyber-link such a story to every piece of my clothing. Wouldn't THAT be a fun project? Wearable history, digitally archived? Hmmm.)

So . . . there you go. I hope that your alma mater's gridiron opponent ran back three interceptions for touchdowns while you were reading this. 

So, enjoy your Saturday, don't watch too much college football . . . and remember . . . no one cares if your second-year halfback can run the 40 yard dash in under three seconds.

See you next weekend!

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016: Week 1 Welcome Back

Hey everyone! Tomorrow is the first Saturday of the college football season, so you know what that means?!!


You do know what that means, don't you?

It's the return of Why Won't You Grow?!'s Football Counter-Programming, in which I desperately try to get you to NOT watch Saturday college football and instead, make the dubious choice to read some random thing that I hastily wrote either Friday night on feverishly on a Saturday morning.

And then, you can image my thoughts as I try to determine what is the BEST time of day to post my counter-programming post. Is it right at the start of the Saturday football schedule (noon?) Or do I wait until people are fully soaking in the pigskin and fight back around 3 pm? Or really, does it even matter at all? Am I making any king of difference?

And, even more importantly--what sort of image themes am I going to try and go with this season? Season 1 was all about the intersection of nerds and football.and season two was combining relevant images from that theme's post with the old Monday Night Football slogan (and a bit of Twin Peaks Log Lady wisdom thrown in there for extra spice.)

So, far this year, I think my illustration them is going to be something along the lines of "sad football images" and we'll see how far I can stretch that out. But, the biggest challenge continues to be how do I search for football images without continually being confronted with weirdly sexualized football girls with little on--a terrible play on "fantasy football", I 'm sure.

Anyway . . . my biggest need continues to be IDEAS. What am I going to write about each week? What topics will I . . . tackle . . . if you know what I mean? This is where I need your help, your comments, and your wisdom. Give me suggestions for things to write about over the next fourteen weekends. For instance, tonight I asked Grace to give me an idea and her response was CARTOONS!

Which may be something that I can pursue next week or some other upcoming week, but I didn't know how to pursue it right away. If you have an idea for how cartoons can turn into something more, give me your interpretation. And if you have other ideas, let me know what those ideas are.

Thanks! And we'll see you again next Saturday for another week.

Remember, no one cares if your team won your mid-level conference bowl game last season.