Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Death of a Dog and a Defensive Coordinator

I'm still in shock from the news that Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator Jim Johnson passed away today from his battle with cancer. I knew he had the cancer, I knew he had step aside from his duties with the team, I knew that defensive assistant coach Sean McDermott had been promoted to D coordinator this past weekend, I just had no idea it was this bad.

So this post is not going to be coherent or grammatically correct and frankly, I don't even care. I feel like I'm walking around in a fog right now and I just can't shake it, so I'm not even going to try.

I know when most people think of the Eagles over the past 10 years (TEN YEARS!), they instantly think of head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb. But true Eagles fans have always known the truth. We would not have made the Super Bowl appearance, five NFC Championship game trips and won multiple NFC East division titles without Johnson and safety Brian Dawkins (who recently signed with the Denver Broncos). They were the brain and soul of the team and now they are both gone.

It's no wonder to me that Spags has done well with the Giants (and will do well with St. Louis) and Harbaugh did well in his first season in Baltimore. To say Johnson was a defensive genius would not be an overstatement. He saw that side of the ball in a way no one else could. He got it that he didn't have to leave to be a head coach (had multiple offers through the years), he knew what he was good at and was comfortable in it.

This upcoming season is going to be weird for me. No Johnson. No Dawkins. No watching every single game of the year with Dad at my parents house.

I know the times are a changing, but isn't this a bit much all at once?

At first I was wondering while I was so broken up about the passing of a defensive coach - a man I've never even met. But then I started thinking about it. I've watched almost EVERY Eagles game for the past decade. That's 16-18 games a year times ten. After that much time, something like that can't help but become a part of who you are and I lost part of that today. Maybe it was the culmination of Dawkins leaving and the fact that I won't be home for the games this year that Johnson's death just put it all over the top.

I was talking to my buddy Paul tonight about it and he totally understood my sadness. He noted that if it made me feel any better, his family had to put one of his dogs to sleep today. He went on to say that he had been recently thinking about getting another dog, but wondered what's the point when you KNOW you're going to outlive it.

I don't really know how it all relates, but to me it does tonight. I get why people don't invest in teams, or pets, or other people and don't really blame them. But I guess that's the glory of it all: you can't get the good moments in life without chancing the bad.

Hope you do get another dog someday Paulie. I will be right there with you, rooting on a new era of Philadelphia Eagles football.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NBC (Finally) Sacks Silverman

*I know no one out there besides me cares about this (great way to start a post, huh?) but found this fascinating article (below) about what's going on over at the NBC network. Peacock head-honcho Ben Silverman was (finally) let go yesterday and despite a HORRENDOUS track record, Tim Goodman from the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that the network's recent slump may not entirely be Silverman's fault. When it comes to TV, I know most of you only care about who the Bachelorette chose or why Kim and Reggie broke up but it's these behind-the-scenes moves that affect what we actually get to watch.

NBC fires Ben Silverman. But don't blame him.

Daily Variety perfectly summed up today's firing of NBC entertainment chairman Ben Silverman by saying "speculation over Silverman's fate at the network has been on-going from almost the moment he set foot at the Peacock." Indeed it has. Silverman was never a good fit as an entertainment president (he's best at packaging shows for sale, not in running a network with a real vision). This was clear to pretty much everybody but NBC. That Silverman will be remembered for continuing to run NBC into the ground is a legacy he can shake by, say, tomorrow, because it's not too difficult to assume that the next person will do precisely the same thing.

And yet - and yet! - NBC's announcement that Jeff Gaspin, who was running NBC Universal's cable side, will take over for Silverman is actually a move that might work. Gaspin is a smart guy and always has been, back to his MTV Network days. He's savvy, if a little slick, and he's certainly an NBC loyalist and believer. Can he turn things around? Sure, if he gets some autonomy. Because there's a reason NBC is in the sorry state that it is - and that reason is Gaspin's boss, Jeff Zucker. If you want to get really technical about it, the bad decisions pre-date Zucker, the former "Today" show whiz. NBC's brass, such as it is, should never have hired Zucker in the first place.

That he's gone up the ranks from entertainment president to NBC Universal president and CEO despite the network underachieving speaks more to corporate decision-making, dollar saving and penny pinching than anything else. I have no doubt that Zucker knows how appease corporate bosses with money saving strategies and whatnot, but he could never program a network and when he finally hired someone who could - Kevin Reilly - he ended up firing him (and letting him walk over to Fox).

If Gaspin gets some independence from Zucker, he might be able to implement some changes at NBC. For starters - making better series. Though the timing of Silverman's firing means Gaspin will be able to be the face of the network when it rolls into TCA, it's unclear how much input he had on any of the upcoming fall shows. If it's true that Silverman's fate was shaky from Day 1, then who knows how many hands were involved in the creation of the fall series. I'll guess Gaspin himself will be able to tell us when NBC shows up. And that, coincidentally, is when the clock starts ticking on his tenure.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Inconvenient Conveniences

When I was a kid, “Back to the Future, Part II” was one of my favorite movies because I loved the idea of living in a world with all of those cool, futuristic gadgets and innovations. From automatic lace-up shoelaces, to 3-D holographic movies, to the crown jewel – hover technology, 2015 could not get here fast enough for me.

And in 2009, I try to keep up the latest and the greatest. I’m on Facebook, YouTube, and I’m a religious Tweeter. My Fiance and I use the webcams on our laptops to talk to each other, and I’ve even taught my parents how to text.

But now, 20 years after “Future, Part II” (how is THAT even possible?), I’m not only cautiously reluctant when it comes to technological advancements, I’m becoming borderline afraid of them.

Because, while I love the idea of technology and “progress”, I’m beginning to sense that my feelings are going unreturned.

It’s not that I’m not mentally adept when it comes to working all of these gadgets and gizmos, it’s that they just don’t want to work for me.

When I went to pick out my newest cell phone, I found one that I liked but asked the sales clerk if this particular phone had internet access and all of the fancy add-ons and applications. Sensing a sale, she started raving about how this phone could not only get online, but would let you watch TV shows, shoot laser beams, and control NASA space shuttles around the outer moons of Jupiter as well.

Not interested.

I asked her if she just had a phone that, you know, was just a phone.

Perplexed, she just stood there dazed and kept muttering, “but it sh-sh-shoots laser b-beams.”

I finally found one that seemed simple enough – I think it can still maneuver military ships at sea, but I have just never asked how to access that option – and I’ve been relatively happy with it over the past year.

It’s one of those flip phones that has number keys on the outside that you can use to text of call people, but then you can flip it open and it has more number and letter keys that you can use to text or call people.

I really don’t use the inside numbers or letters, because, well, the same numbers and letters are on the outside, but there’s been a new development this past week.

The one key you absolutely need to work on the outside key panel is the “OK” button. The OK button is like the King Key because it unlocks the phone so that you can... use it. Well, now, naturally, the OK button isn’t working all the time anymore.

Oh, don’t worry, it does still work sometimes. When it wants to. It can work fine one minute and let me unlock the phone to start a text, then not work the next minute when I go to press OK to actually send the text.

I have the Terrell Owens of cell phones.

Assuming it was just me, I did a little online research on my specific model to see if anyone else out there was having similar problems. Based on the thousands of responses that I found with people experiencing the exact same issue, I’m guessing that the OK button not working is the modus operandi of my phone.

And I’m going to go out on a ledge here and guess that my cell phone provider is in fact aware of this fun, little fact but where is the money for them in making sure it actually works?

They know that if it doesn’t work, you will come back to the store and either have to pay to fix it or pay for a brand new phone.

Brilliant business strategy.

It’s like that bit from comedian Chris Rock where he questions how we can fly spaceships around the sun but can’t build a car that lasts for more than a couple of years. He goes on to say that in this day and age, with all of the medical advances, there has to be actual cures for some of the major diseases; but there’s not any money in the cure, just in the treatment.

Same thing is true with technology. No money in the fix, just in the maintenance.

But it’s not working on me, baby! I’m not giving them another dime. I will just stay angry and let my frustration with an OK button on my cell phone slowly drain years off of my life.

That will show them.

Oh, and if I don’t make it through the end of this column, it’s because my laptop has decided to shut down.

Yeah, that’s a new game we like to play together: Type-As-Fast-As-I-Can-Before-My-Laptop-Quits-Working.

Needless to say I lose every time.

I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t I just take my laptop somewhere to get fixed? Good question and I’d like to think I have a good answer: I did.

This new symptom is a result of getting it fixed.

For the longest time, I couldn’t get my laptop to turn on so I took it to a store to get it fixed and even paid extra to preserve all of my hard drive information (settings, documents, pictures, etc).

After a week, they finally called to let me know that it was fixed but when I was able to turn it on, ALL of my documents were gone. Took it back to the store (thanks for telling me originally guys – did they think I wasn’t going to notice?) and they apologized and refunded my money and told me it was a hard drive issue and there was nothing they could do.

Fine. Whatever. I just wanted it work now. Took it back home and this time, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get back online.

Took it back to the store and waited why one of the guys looked at it. And I waited. And I waited. I waited so long that I had to buy a bag of chips and soda from inside the store just to have some semblance of dinner that night.

He finally diagnosed that a vital video card had been deleted in the original repair and would need to keep it for a few more days.

At least he apologized again.

I can finally get online, but like I said, now my laptop will just shut off whenever it wants to like a narcoleptic AND I can no longer watch DVDs (just as an added bonus feature).

My Fiance keeps telling me to take it back to the store (and I think I probably will have to) but I’m just afraid of getting so angry that I go all Jean Grey on them and summon flames from the heavens down upon the store if my laptop doesn’t work properly again – or even worse, develops a new problem.

Well, I’m going to have to wrap this up.

I’m starting to feel my blood pressure rise and a numbness in my right arm. Where’s my phone? I might have to dial 9-1-1.

That is if the OK button is working.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Now THIS is a Wedding

What alternate universe would I have to be living in for this to be a legitimate option for my own wedding in a month? And I really appreciate how it's all one big musical production - very choreographed. You can't just dance down the aisle like a jerk, you've got to put on a show with some style and class. Well done!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Killers Planning Covers Album

*Wow. Somehow this interesting bit of information slipped past me a few months ago. Regardless, it definitely sounds promising. Can't wait...

(for complete story, click here):

Even though The Killers are deep into touring their third studio effort "Day & Age," drummer Ronnie Vannucci tells plans are in the works for a DVD concert release later this year.

"We're working on some ideas for what will be our first DVD," Vannucci says. "We've been kind of hounded about it for a while, and haven't really thought we were due for it yet, but I think it's time. I think we're approaching the moment of DVD mass hysteria."

That's not all the band is currently working on. In addition to tinkering around with songwriting ideas for its next Christmas single, the percussionist admits there have been internal discussions about the long-rumored Killers covers album. Songs already recorded include Bright Eyes cover "Four Winds (U.K. B-side for "Spaceman"), as well as a Cyndi Lauper tune and a version of Murray Head's "One Night in Bangkok." Regarding the latter track, Vannucci says the band "messed around" and recorded it with Louis XIV. He stressed at the very least a street date for the covers project remains far off, if not open-ended.

"Yeah, that's happening," Vannucci says. "We have a couple in the can but I don't know when the hell we'll get it off the ground to release it. But it's going to happen. I think it's a good thing for us to do. Let's say the shit hits the fan and it never gets released, it's at the very least nice to kind of study other people's music in the way songs are written or constructed.

"It's going to be one of those things that will be more fun for us than anybody else. I think it's still a while off but things move kind of fast with us and get cooking, so it could just be when we have a collection of songs for the press, we'll put it out there."

Monday, July 20, 2009

"The Legend of Shareef" or "Have Finger Gun - Will Travel"

The year is 2029 and my wife and I have taken our children on a camping trip deep into the Rocky Mountains. It’s starting to get a little late and we’ve just finished a hearty supper. We’re now sitting around the campfire (that I started myself, thank you very much!) and our kids want to hear a story.

They quickly interrupt me when I start in about the Phillies’ four-peat from 2008-11 for the sixteen-billionth time. They roll their eyes and groan just seconds into my suggestions as to how I could have saved NBC from going under back in 2013. They want a story from my youth. A personal story. It takes me a moment to find an age-appropriate one, but then it hits me: I will tell them the Legend of Shareef. “Waaaay back in 2009…”

One of the biggest reasons my Fiancé and I decided that it was best for me to move out to Colorado before her is because of how socially stunted I can be.

She can make life-long friends with new people instantly. Needless to say, it takes me a little longer – like years or even decades. Case in point: of the seven guys that are going to be groomsmen in my wedding next month, I’ve known all of them, except one, for more than 10 years.

My FiancĂ© has a hundred good friends, I have seven close friends; that’s just how we are and it works for us.

So if we had moved out here together after the wedding, she would have a legion of people to hang out with within a week and I would know no one. Honestly, we talked about it, that’s one of the real reasons why I came out first.

Six months in, I have met some really cool people that I l would socialize with in a moment’s notice, but there’s really only two new guys that I would say I regularly hang out with so far (told ya, it takes me a while).

I met my buddy, Aarron, in the trenches at Dish – wartime experience has the ability to draw people together. And then my buddy Dan moved out to Denver from my neck of the woods back in Virginia in late March. I had actually worked for Dan’s parents in their deli shop a couple of years ago, but he and I weren’t that close back then.

Dan stayed with me in my apartment for a few weeks when he first got out here until he got himself on his own feet but we have just kept hanging out, along with Aarron, ever since.

The three of us have all talked about it, and if you had told any of us a year ago that we would be hanging out with the other two a year ago, there is no way we would have believed it. We really are an odd mix-match of personalities. A real unsavory, rag-tag group.

The Rag Pack, if you will.

But a fresh perspective – and even loneliness – have a way of changing things (more on that in a minute). So, we’ve just been hanging out for the past couple of months, and it had just been the three of us; but we would soon welcome a mythic fourth to our group.

There’s no way to know when it’s going to happen. You can’t expect it and you certainly can’t ask for it. There is no magic potion or elixir. The best you can do is just wait and hope, and more often than not, you will get lucky and he will show up and change your life forever.

Every so often, there is just enough magic in the moonlight and our good friend Dan undergoes the most magical transformation and turns into a being that is more than a man but less than a god.

He becomes Shareef.

Let me say this first: you have truly partied – nay, lived – until you have spent an evening in the presence of Shareef.

Shareef will go wherever the night takes him. He makes no plans and will say “no” to nothing. He makes dreams come true and women flock to him.

In a word, the whole experience is surreal.

So how did Dan Perez, whose family is from New York and CUBA, become Shareef? When clean-cut Dan moved out to Denver, he decided to grow his beard out indefinitely. We all went out to an outdoor soccer game on a cold night back in April and Dan wore a beanie cap to keep warm. With his dark skin, the heavy dark beard and his beanie cap, he legitimately looked a middle-eastern man and even got “randomly” searched by the stadium security.

Thus “Shareef” was born.

From then on, we noticed as our nights would go on, Dan would become more relaxed and more adventurous. And not in some sophomoric, fraternal sense. Shareef is a gentleman that just knows how to live.

What Shareef gets that no one else I’ve ever met has come close to gotten (including myself) is that you can’t be afraid of the consequences.

He’s not afraid to take a chance on anything.

He regularly gets hit on by hot chicks, he’s been shot down by a lonely fat chick, he’s caught a home run ball at a Rockies game, and he’s lost $20 in under 10 seconds at a slot machine.

Nothing’s off the table when Shareef’s around.

With every new story, Aarron and I joke that “legend of Shareef grows” but he hit mythic status this past Thursday night.

The three of us get together at a local sports bar for Team Trivia every Thursday and then stick around to hang out and watch whatever game may still be on. This past week was shaping up to be no different than any other, until we were playing a little pool and we noticed a group of people across the room.

There were five people in the group – two guys and three girls – and it was obvious that two of the guys were dating two of the girls, meaning that there was one girl by herself. She was definitely Girl-Next-Door cute and didn’t seem to mind at all being a fifth wheel (it’s always cool when girls can just go out and have a good time and not seem all moody that they’re not with someone and ruin the night for everyone).

I must add in that Shareef had yet to make an appearance yet. We were just having a good time hanging with Dan, but in a moment's notice the winds shifted.

I told Dan that I had always wanted to witness a guy buy a drink for a women in a bar. And not in a cheesy, “I’m obviously hitting on you” kind of way, but in a classy, “Hey, I noticed you and wanted to do something nice for you” way (I’ve been watching too much “Mad Men” I think).

Welcome to the party, Shareef.

Shareef immediately called over our waitress to find out what she was drinking and placed an order for her.I was giddy.

I then took it a step farther and upped the ante. I challenged Shareef that when the drink got delivered to the girl and our waitress pointed out who ordered it for her, that he should give her a wink AND shoot her the Finger Gun (you know when you make gun out of two fingers with the thumb up).

After a good laugh, Shareef respectfully declined and there was no real way I would ever expect anyone to be crazy enough to do that.

But Shareef is not just anyone.

It was like we were living in slow motion there for a moment. You could feel the magical breeze across your face as the waitress delivered the drink and then pointed to Shareef, who just happened to be walking up to the pool table for his shot.

In one movie-like motion, he pulled his hand out of his pocket, gave the girl a wink and shot her the Finger Gun.

I still haven’t been able to reel in my jaw from the ground.

It wasn’t over the top and it wasn’t lame. He shot it to her straight like a man. He just kept moving fluidly and then just leaned over and took his shot on the table. I looked up at the girl (we were still in slow motion) and I couldn’t help but notice a genuine smile on her face.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, over the course of the next few minutes, Aarron and I couldn’t help but notice that she kept looking over at our table and a terrifying thought swept over the two of us: there’s no way that the Finger Gun worked, is there?

I had to know for sure. I told Shareef that he had to try and invite her over to play pool with us and that would be the test.

She was still with her friends. He had shot her the Finger Gun. There was no way she was coming over.

No way.

Aarron and I sat and watched as Shareef walked straight up to her and then after an inaudible exchange, I almost passed out and she got up off of her chair and followed him over.

The Legend of Shareef grows.

Going back to what I was talking about earlier, a few weeks ago the three of us were talking about what makes our random Rag Pack work.

I know that sometimes you can’t really define why things are but on a basic, fundamental level the three of us should not work, which makes it all the more bizarre.

We finally figured out that we work because there’s not one of us that's afraid to really live.

That’s what got us each out here to Colorado. One of my biggest turn-ons is not accepting the status quo, not just getting settled in life and then just riding it out until the grave.

I’m not saying you have to move somewhere new or quit your job, but it’s just an overall mentality that you’re committed to making the most out of this one existence, this one ride that we get.

That’s why we work.

We all agreed that even if we are all living in different parts of the country, or world for that matter, 30 years from now, it wouldn’t be out of the question for us to meet up somewhere and do something fun, do something big, just for living' sake; and I can already only hope that Shareef will still be around to grace us with his presence.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How I Met Your Emmy Nomination

Every year I try to provide fair and objective Emmy predictions and insight, but I'm throwing all of that out this year.

After the nominations were announced this morning (see post below for official list), I almost passed out because SO MANY of my favorite shows and actors were nominated (or in some cases, finally nominated) this time around.

I'm so used to liking shows that no one has heard of, or shows that no one cares about that it's going to be bizarre to see my faves honored on TV's biggest night.

So I'm not doing any predictions this year, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the show for once.

With that said, I do have to make special mention of a few nominees:

- In the biggest and best news of all, "HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER" HAS FINALLY BEEN NOMINATED FOR BEST COMEDY SERIES. What a deserving turnaround for a show that was almost cancelled last spring. I know "30 Rock" will probably win again (three straight wins will start to make me nervous in regards to "Frasier" maintaining its Emmy record five consecutive awards) but I don't really care; "HIMYM" is finally starting to get the recognition it should have been getting all along.

- The most surprising/satisfying nomination next to "HIMYM" for me was Kristen Wiig from "SNL" receiving a Best Supporting Actress in Comedy Series nod. If you haven't seen "SNL" in the past few years, you have to know that Wiig is legit. My Fiance and I love everything she's in (she almost stole "Knocked Up" in her two minutes of screen time) and I would give anything to be a Hollywood producer and pitch a Wiig-driven primetime variety show revival (think Carol Burnett) to a network and make lots and lots of money of that show's success.

- Even though "Big Bang" wasn't nominated, glad to see Jim Parsons (Sheldon) was. I'm a bit surprised he's in the Best Actor category instead of Best Supporting Actor - he is the definition of a supporting cast member to me. Can't pull for him over Steve Carrell (Michael Scott is the best character on television, period) even though it doesn't matter because Alec Baldwin will probably win again.

- Anyone else surprised to see "Family Guy" land a Best Comedy nomination? First animated show to do so since "The Flinstones" 48 years ago. Really? "Family Guy" gets nominated when "The Simpsons" still hasn't? Really? Huh...

- It's also a little strange to me that last year's Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series winner Jeremy Piven ("Entourage") did not get a nomination but Kevin Dillon - from the same show - did. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Johnny Drama fan, but there hasn't been an "Entourage" moment yet where Dillon was better than Piven.

- With Piven gone, doesn't it feel like it's shaping up to be a legendary win for "HIMYM's" Neil Patrick Harris (who is hosting this year's Emmys by the way)?!

- Glad to see "30 Rock's" Tracy Morgan get some Emmy love - but then again, who didn't from that show this year?

- Last year's Best Drama Series champ "Mad Men" is back to defend its title - I just started watching Season 2 on DVD, so I don't feel qualified to judge it yet, but everyone keeps saying the second season was somehow better than the first.

- Usually could care less about the Reality show categories but I am definitely pulling for "Top Chef" and actually think it has a decent shot at dethroning reigning champ "The Amazing Race".

- And finally, while I'm never going to be his biggest fan, I do have to say that Justin Timberlake has been a fantastic "SNL" host over the past couple of years and I was surprised and happy to see him earn a nomination for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. Timberlake has meshed well with this underrated cast and through some of his reoccurring skits and video shorts, has helped make the sketch comedy show somewhat relevant again.

For a more professional analysis, be sure to check out former TV writer ("MASH", "CHEERS", "FRASIER", to name a few)
Ken Levine's blog.

And the Nominees Are...

*Here is the list of the 2009 TV Emmy nominees that were announced this morning. I will post my thoughts a little later, but just wanted to get the list out there in case you haven't seen it yet.

Nominees for the major awards at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, to be handed out on Sun., Sept. 20.


Family Guy
Flight of the Conchords
How I Met Your Mother
The Office
30 Rock

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Jemaine Clement, Flight of th Conchords
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Program

Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Rainn Wilson, The Office

Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

Alan Alda, 30 Rock
Beau Bridges, Desperate Housewives
Jon Hamm, 30 Rock
Steve Martin, 30 Rock
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live

Jennifer Aniston, 30 Rock
Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Gena Rowlands, Monk
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock
Betty White, My Name Is Earl



Big Love
Breaking Bad
Mad Men


Simon Baker, The Mentalist
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House


Glenn Close, Damages
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer


Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal
Michael Emerson, Lost
William Hurt, Damages
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
William Shatner, Boston Legal
John Slattery, Mad Men


Rose Byrne, Damages
Hope Davis, In Treatment

Cherry Jones, In Treatment
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy

Edward Asner, CSI: NY

Ted Danson, Damages
Ernest Borgnine, ER
Michael J. Fox, Rescue Me
Jimmy Smits, Dexter

Brenda Blethyn, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Carol Burnett, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Ellen Burstyn, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Sharon Lawrence, Grey's Anatomy
CCH Pounder, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency


The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
Top Chef

Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Heidi Klum, Project Runway
Padma Lakshmi (Host) and Tom Colicchio (Co-Host), Top Chef
Jeff Probst, Survivor
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

Antiques Roadshow
Dirty Jobs
Dog Whisperer
Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List


The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Late Show With David Letterman
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Failing to Launch a Proposal on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days While Wearing 27 Dresses

Here is a text conversation I had with my buddy Gray about a couple days ago:

GRAY: Go to and read the blurb on 500 Days of Summer. It's a rom com where a guy falls in love with a girl named Summer.

ME: When it was recently referred to as the "when harry met sally" of our generation, i lost any interest i had. Why not just call it the next "casablanca"?

GRAY: This movie looks extremely unconventional, though. [SPOILER ALERT that no one from the movie is trying to hide] The characters don't even wind up together, so I don't see the comparison.

ME: Yeah, I've been tracking that one for over a year now and am losing interest the closer it gets [to being released]. Too much modern angst for me.

GRAY: I'm excited about it, though i only discovered it 10 minutes ago. I welcome any novelty in that tired genre.

That was the end of our conversation and we both went about our respective weeks. For some odd reason though, I haven't been able to shake what Gray texted right there at the end: "I welcome any novelty in that tired genre".

I think he nailed it.

I've been so hung up on what "500 Days" is that I forget to see it for what it's not - just another drone in a recent long line of formulaic romantic comedies.

I think we can all agree that almost every rom com from the past five to 10 years has pretty much followed the same game plan:

- Girl and Guy hate each other

- Girl and Guy have wacky best friends
- Turning point causes Girl and Guy to like each other
- Silly misunderstanding and/or truth about elaborate scheme is revealed which causes rift between Girl and Guy
- Girl or Guy makes heartfelt speech to the other
- Girl and Guy live happily ever after

Did I leave anything out? Didn't think so.

This past weekend, my Fiance and I went on a classy dinner and a movie date downtown. Being the cool girl that she is, she even suggested "Public Enemies" (can't wait to see it by the way) but I was just in the mood for something lighter to fit the mood of the evening.

Upon the positive review of "The Proposal" from my buddy Paul (great recap of the John Cusack era by the way), we settled on that one and I was actually really enjoying it... u
ntil the movie hit the "Silly-misunderstanding-and/or-truth-about-elaborate-scheme-is-revealed-which-causes-rift-between-Girl-and-Guy".

I seriously believe that once a romantic comedy gets to that point in the filming process, the writers, actors, directors, crew, etc. legitimately just put it on auto-pilot and coast into the ending of the film.

This whole thing made me think about the rom coms that I actually do like and why I like them.

My top three favorites probably are:

1. Sleepless in Seattle
2. You've Got Mail
3. High Fidelity

And I don't feel any less macho or lame for naming those movies because they're not the typical "Chick Flicks" that have become so common.

When I started breaking them down in my head, something important jumped about at me. None of them really follow the usual formula that everyone else is beating into the ground.

I think I like "Sleepless" the most because the main characters DON'T EVEN MEET UNTIL THE LAST TWO MINUTES OF THE MOVIE.

How do you pull that off?

That script and those actors have really got to be working for an audience to believe these two STRANGERS are supposed to be together. That's not even a "romantic comedy" anymore, that's a really good film that just happens to be in the romantic comedy genre.

It happens again in "Mail". Even though Tom Hanks' character knows what's going on, Meg Ryan doesn't know who he really is until the very end.

"High Fidelity" is another one of those great movies that you reluctantly just have to put in the rom com genre because it really doesn't fit anywhere else.

All three are just well made movies.

I understand that two big stars + cookie cutter script = box office success to the Hollywood studios and it's hard to fault someone from walking away from an easy gold mine, but I guess my whole point is that I'm just glad we occasionally get one of these classics from time to time.

Don't know if "500 Days" will rank up there, but like Gray so keenly observed (and I didn't), it's already off to a good start.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Did You See This...

> Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith start 'Karate Kid' remake
BEIJING – Jackie Chan will play the wise kung-fu master in a Hollywood-Chinese remake of the 1984 hit "The Karate Kid" that kicked off filming in the Chinese capital at the weekend, a movie company publicist said Monday. Chan's young disciple in "Kung Fu Kid" will be played by Jaden Smith, the son of Hollywood superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, China Film Group spokesman Weng Li told The Associated Press in a phone interview (for complete story, click here).

*Hollywood is not only ignoring my pleas to stop raping my youth, they are now just making fun of me.

> Ryan Reynolds reportedly cast as Green Lantern
Warner Bros. has tapped Ryan Reynolds--most recently seen opposite Sandra Bullock in The Proposal (and on EW's summertime Must Issue cover)--to bring the DC Comics' superhero Green Lantern to life, reports Variety. Reynolds is said to have beaten out Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) and Justin Timberlake for the hotly sought role. Don't know your comic books? Green Lantern is part of an intergalactic police force who fights baddies using a magic ring that can conjure almost anything its wearer can imagine. Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) will direct the film. Shooting is reportedly slated to begin in January (for complete story, click here).

*I actually think Reynolds will bring some life to an character that I would otherwise have no interest in. Looking forward to it.

> Idol's Seacrest Triples Salary with New Contract
Ryan Seacrest has inked a $45 million deal to extend his run as American Idol's host. The three-year contract with Idol producer 19 Entertainment's parent company, CKX, Inc., more than triples his current salary, and his new paycheck is believed to surpass that of any reality TV host, says the Hollywood Reporter (for complete story, click here).

> Sony taps Aaron Sorkin to revise 'Moneyball'
Aaron Sorkin is best known in Hollywood as a screenwriter and TV producer supreme, having put his high-style signature on everything from "The West Wing" and "Sports Night" to "Charlie Wilson's War." But now, as Variety first reported Thursday, Sorkin has a new role -- he's the closer on "Moneyball," the much-ballyhooed baseball movie at Sony Pictures that the studio shut down just days before shooting was scheduled to begin late last month.The movie, which had Brad Pitt slated to star as Billy Beane, the maverick general manager of the Oakland A's who was the focus of Michael Lewis' bestselling "Moneyball" book, had its plug pulled after director Steven Soderbergh turned in a last-minute script revision that the studio felt took the film in a radically different, not to mention wildly uncommercial, new direction. But the news that Sorkin has appeared in the bullpen -- get used to it; we're going to employ a lot of baseball lingo here -- sends a clear message that Sony is determined to keep the movie alive (for complete story, click here).

*I just went from mildly interested in this story to legitimately-can't-wait-to-see-this-movie. Best entertainment related news I've heard in a while.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Scrubs" is Going Under the Knife

Like so many (failed) attempts before it, ABC is trying to keep "Scrubs" going for at least another season despite losing the show's lead actor, Zach Braff.

The show is actually getting completely retooled (see article below) and there are plans to bring Braff - as well as other departed cast members - back for a handful episodes in the upcoming season nine.

There is a long documented history of this kind of move NOT working out well (see: "Spin City" and "That 70's Show" among others) but I think if you were going to try it, you would have to totally revamp the series and give it a fresh spin - like the "Scrubs" producers are trying to do.

I still have my reservations, but I like Turk and Dr. Cox so I will at least give it a couple of weeks to get off the ground.

Any thoughts?


"'Scrubs' will be getting some new blood behind the camera as it makes the transition to a new setup this season.

Josh Bycel, who's written for 'Psych', 'American Dad' and 'Andy Barker, P.I', among other shows, is joining the veteran ABC comedy as an executive producer, Variety reports. He'll also be co-showrunner alongside creator Bill Lawrence.

Bycel effectively replaces exec producers Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, who have moved on to NBC's 'Community', and will help oversee the show while Lawrence also gets the new comedy 'Cougar Town' off the ground.

'Scrubs' is moving away from its hospital setting for its ninth season and is instead expected to focus on a medical school where Turk (Donald Faison) and Cox (John C. McGinley) are teaching. Zach Braff has left the regular cast but will appear in several episodes, and Sarah Chalke, Judy Reyes and Ken Jenkins are likely to guest as well.

ABC is also looking for a big name to help round out the cast. The network has ordered 18 episodes of the show for next season; it's set to premiere in late fall."

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Would Watch "Shovin' Buddies"

Have you ever been watching one of your favorite TV shows and then out of nowhere, an advertisement for one of that network's other programs suddenly pops up and takes over the bottom third of the screen?

Yeah, not so much fun.

In fact, it's gotten so bad recently that I can't even watch a show on TNT anymore. I get startled every time the miniature cast members of "The Closer" or "Raising the Bar" WALK OUT ONTO THE SCREEN and just stand there staring at me (this is why I love buying my favorite shows on DVD - it's nice to watch them with no commercial interruptions and no network logos/promos on the screen).

Usually, I feel alone in regards to my neurotic aggravations, but not this time!

I was flipping through the channels last night and stopped on a rerun of the season finale of "Family Guy" on Fox (originally aired in the middle of May) and they creatively used this recent cultural annoyance as a running joke throughout the episode.

Check out this quick clip (gets good right around the 20 second mark):

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This Can't Be a Good Idea

*Yikes. Will they please leave my childhood alone?

According to
The Hollywood Reporter, Universal won a bidding war for the big-screen rights to the classic 1979 Atari game Asteroids. Writer Matthew Lopez, who recently worked on Disney's Bedtime Stories and Race to Witch Mountain, has the task of inventing a story for the arcade game, in which a player controling a space ship racks up points by shoots asteroids and flying saucers. Lorenzo di Bonaventura (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) will produce.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blogging Boom

For the longest time I felt like I was the only person I knew that was blogging. Come to find out a lot of my friends have actually been posting for a while now (I guess they just don't promote their sites as shamelessly as I do).

Like I said a few weeks ago in regards to my buddy Ross' blog, I love to find other blogs and sites with unique perspectives and voices.

Here are a few more that I highly recommend:

Paul Phipps -
The Triumphant Return of Paulie Walnuts

Aaron Matthes - And the Beat Goes On...

Emily Morton - The World is a Book

(I'm thoroughly enjoying following Em across the country right now)

That should get you started if you're not following these blogs already. ALSO, check out some of the other sites I have listed in my Other Recommended Writers section to the right of this post (I HIGHLY recommend checking out Ken Levine's blog - he used to be a writer for "MASH", "Cheers", and "Frasier" and now covers the Dodgers for a LA radio station).

If you have any more good sites that I haven't mentioned or am unaware of, please let me know!