Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is the Greatest (Alternate) Sitcom Ever

Naturally I received a bunch of angry e-mails and text messages about my nominations for best sitcom ever (sorry, but the Emmy award numbers don't lie) and even got one boycott text (you know who you are, buddy!!)

But being the kind and generous person that I am, I've decided to post an alternative list of shows that either never won an Emmy award or only won one.

So, here you go - I've chosen one show from each decade and since I couldn't come up with a legitimate nomination from the 1950's, I've let "Friends" serve as an overlapping nominee between the 90's and 00's (feel free to vote on both posts but I swear I will lose my mind if we get more comments on this one than the original).

Alternate All-Time Category:

- The Andy Griffith Show
- M*A*S*H*
- The Cosby Show
- Seinfeld
- Friends
- How I Met Your Mother

What is the Greatest Sitcom Ever?

In my post yesterday, I briefly touched on the Emmy awards from the other night. Of course being the nerd I am, I started thinking more and more about the history of the Emmys and had to do some additional research (yeah, that's fun for me somehow).

At first, I was kind of surprised to see which shows had won how many Emmy awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, but the more I thought about it, it actually all kind of made sense.

Then I started realizing that the Emmy award winners could actually help us figure out which series is the greatest sitcom of all time purely on a statistical level by removing all subjective feelings.

So what I have done below is list the winners from each decade and choose a Decade Winner (from the 1950's through the 2000's). Then at the bottom, I have put together an All-Time Category consisting of those six Decade Winners and you get to choose which show is the Greatest Sitcom Ever.

Series with the most votes (in the comments section below this post) wins. I will also accept e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter responses.

I'm not going to weigh in on this one. This is all about YOU. So let me know what you think.


The Red Skelton Show (’52)
- I Love Lucy (’53, ’54)
- Make Room for Daddy (’55)
- The Phil Silvers Show (’56, ’57, ’58)
- The Jack Benny Show (’59)

WINNER: You know that crappy Steve Martin movie that came out a few years ago called "Sgt. Bilko"? Yeah, that was a modernization of "The Phil Silvers Show", which is an absolute classic. But I'm sure no one remembers that series, so "I Love Lucy" it is. Not a bad consolation prize.


- Art Carney Special (’60)
- The Jack Benny Show (’61)
- The Bob Newhart Show (’62)
- The Dick Van Dyke Show (’63, ’64, ’65, ’66)
- The Monkees (’67)
- Get Smart (’68, ’69)

WINNER: "Get Smart" (the classic TV series, NOT the awful Steve Carrell movie) made me pause for a minute, but after further review, it's not even close. "Van Dyke" was the first sitcom to really perfect the show at home/show at work formula. Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam stole the show at the office and gave Rob Petrie all he could handle but at least he had Mary Tyler Moore to come home to.


- My World and Welcome to It (’70)
- All in the Family (’71, ’72, ’73, ’78)
- M*A*S*H* (’74)
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show (’75, ‘76’, ’77)
- Taxi (’79)

WINNER: "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in a minor upset. I know "All in the Family" won more Emmy's and probably was more culturally relevant (although, not by much as "Moore" really showcased the independent woman of that era), but "Moore" just kept crafting the work/home dynamic that "Van Dyke" had perfected and in my humble opinion, still stands as the template for the perfect sitcom. Having Ted Knight's Ted Baxter as the greatest supporting character doesn't hurt either.

(Special recognition to "Taxi" for winning in '79 and again in '80 and '81. The actual decade barrier hurt its chances more than anything)


- Taxi (’80, ’81)
- Barney Miller (’82)
- Cheers (’83, ’84, ‘89)
- The Cosby Show (’85)
- Golden Girls (’86, ’87)
- The Wonder Years (’88)

WINNER: Every time I watch an episode of "Cheers" on DVD, I can't help but think that it would have been the greatest get-together-with-your-friends-and-watch series of all time. Shows like "Friends" and "How I Met Your Mother" are now able to exist because of "Cheers", with its focus on the ensemble as opposed to the Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke star-driven predecessors.


- Murphy Brown (’90, ‘92)
- Cheers (’91)
- Seinfeld (’93)
- Frasier (’94, ’95, ’96, ’97, ’98)
- Ally McBeal (’99)

WINNER: The biggest landslide of all, and it's NOT "Seinfeld". You know what, I'm not even going to insult the winner with an explanation.


- Will & Grace (’00)
- Sex & the City (’01)
- Friends (’02)
- Everybody Loves Raymond (’03, ’05)
- Arrested Development (’04)
- The Office (’06)
- 30 Rock (’07, ’08, '09)

WINNER: This was the hardest decision for me by far. I don't think a TV person like me will even remember "30 Rock" in 30 years (I was PRAYING for "The Office" to win this past Sunday so that those two shows would be tied and I could justify going that way). While "30 Rock" is a consistently well-written and genuinely funny show, there is never an EPIC TV moment that will be replayed or talked about for years to come. I always enjoy "30 Rock" but I never remember it. "Arrested Development" should have walked away with this decade but viewers are too stupid to realize brilliance until it's too late. So, with great reluctance, I give the nod to "Everybody Loves Raymond". It had that classic sitcom feel, some big moments, great cast and never did anything wrong (so why doesn't it feel more right?)

The All-Time nominations have been made, now it's time for you decide the Greatest TV Show Ever. For me personally, it's not even a discussion, but I can't wait to hear your thoughts on your winner.

Once again, the nominees are...

All-Time Category

- I Love Lucy
- The Dick Van Dyke Show
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show
- Cheers
- Frasier
- Everybody Loves Raymond

Feel free to comment below!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Observations

No new column today.

Had a great weekend with my Wife's parents, so didn't have any time to crank any thing out.

A few news, notes, and observations from the past couple of days:

- On Friday, I wrote 2,000 words about the season premiere of "The Office" and the series premiere of "Community" and believe me, it was brilliant. But I got some quirky technical issue message when I went to post it and I guess I erased everything I had written (and you can't duplicate genius). Basically thought "The Office" was back in a big way (love the self-contained episodes the best) and really excited about the potential of "Community".

Huh, guess I didn't need 2,000 words after all.

- Simply put, college football is off to a GREAT start.

- Bears, Bengals, and Texans surprised me with wins. How in the world do you stop or even slow down the Saints? (at least they made it quick and painless for me) So happy to see the Cowboys lose their home opener in that Babylonian mega-plex (almost turned the game off when they started comparing it to the 7 Man-Made Wonders of the World. Seriously?) The Jets and 49ers might be better than I thought. The Packers might not be as good as I thought. And who could have imagined this time last year that the Broncos D would be their strong suit in 2009 (better enjoy these wins now, that murderer's row stretch on the schedule is lurking). Then again, it is only week two and everything will probably be completely different in the league a month from now.

- Can't believe I called Jon Cryer winning the Emmy over Neil Patrick Harris. PS - I don't think I can watch award shows anymore. I get too personally invested and then too infuriated and then realize I wasted all of that energy on something pointless. I like the shows I like. I will watch them and enjoy them and let the morons vote for their favorite morons.

- "Mad Men" was the only thing I was pulling for that actually took home a statue. Steve Carell, Jim Parsons, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, "The Office", and "How I Met Your Mother" all went home empty handed. It was a rough night for my rooting interests in every category.

- Then again, NPH is getting tremendous reviews for his job as the Emmy host. He might be the best "entertainer" we have alive right now - you know, in that Bob Hope kind of way.

- And finally, speaking of "HIMYM" and NPH, it's so nice that both return in a new episode TONIGHT (I will finally have all of my favorite shows back on the air after this evening)!! "Mother" returns at 7:00 p.m. MST (that's 8:00 p.m. for you East Coasters - not fun doing the math, is it?) and "The Big Bang Theory" is back at 8:30 p.m. MST (9:30 p.m. on the East side).

How was your weekend? Any thing fun or interesting? Any thoughts on football, new shows, or the Emmys?

Feel free to comment...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If I Were King, NBC Would Be Too

You can blame my buddy Gray for this one.

Since the debut of Leno this week we have been text debating heavily about NBC's past, present and future.

Some great points were raised and made by both of us but Gray finally did it. He pushed me over the edge and basically dared me to present a full, thought-out plan about what I would do if I was running NBC.

I took the bait and at first freaked out because when I think of NBC, I think of a post-apocalyptic wasteland; but the more I looked into it, the easier it got - my vision actually feel together pretty quickly.

The problem isn't that NBC has bad shows, the problem is that it has decent shows in bad timeslots. Currently, nothing works together or effectively against the competition. That's what NBC used to be so good at but has gotten away from. Frantic decisions to wade into the dirty waters of Reality TV and Leno have sent the network spiraling into a frenzied, unorganized mess.

This is just one man's opinion, but here's what NBC's 2009 fall schedule would look like if I were King.


> MONDAY: "The Biggest Loser" (8:00 p.m.), "Mercy" (10:00 p.m.)

Girls night to go up against Monday Night Football

> TUESDAY: New Multi-Camera Sitcom (8:00 p.m.), "Community" (8:30 p.m.), "Law & Order: SVU" (9:00 p.m.), "Trauma" (10:00 p.m.)

Bring back a multi-camera sitcom (you're telling me in this current political climate that a more polished version of Tyler Perry's "House of Paynes"/old-school "Cosby Show" wouldn't work on network TV now?) put new-comer "Community" behind it, and cap the evening with a nice pairing of "Law & Order" and "Trauma"

> WEDNESDAY: "Heroes" (8:00 p.m.), New Western Drama (9:00 p.m.), New Time Period Drama (10:00 p.m.)

Fantasy night! Have "Heroes" lead off the night at 8, then bring back a rugged western with a love story at 9, and then find another grity, more mature time period piece (like "Mad Men" or "Rome") for the 10 p.m. From a marketing, and creative stand-point, this is my favorite night of the week.

> THURSDAY: New Kristen Wiig Variety Show (8:00 p.m.), "Parks & Rec" (8:30 p.m.), "The Office" (9:00 p.m.), "30 Rock" (9:30 p.m.), "Southland" (10:00 p.m.)

I’ve been clamoring for a Kristen Wiig (Carol Burnett-type) variety show for YEARS now. Follow that with a great night of single camera comedies and then bring back "Southland" to Thursday night (it's going to die on Friday by the way).

> FRIDAY: Bravo Rebrodcast of "America's Top Model" (8:00 p.m.), Bravo Rebroadcast of "Top Chef" (9:00 p.m.), "Dateline" (10:00 p.m.)

No one watches TV on Friday nights and NBC is a media partner with Bravo, so why not help out both networks by rebroadcasting their top shows of the week to get a little more buzz? Only helping yourself all the way around. I'm sure there is a TON of legal stuff that would keep this from ever happening, but this is my one think-out-side-the-box idea.

> SATURDAY: "Saturday Night at the Movies" (8:00 p.m.), Encore presentation of buzz-worth drama (10:00 p.m.)

Bid high on movie rights (probably wouldn't even have to for films produced by Universal so NBC is owned by them) and bring back a "Saturday Night at the Movies" feel, especially for families. Then rebroadcast your best drama of the week. Oh, Bradley Cooper from "The Hangover" was on "Trauma" and you missed it? Well, here you go.

> SUNDAY: "Sunday Night Football"

Football. Enough said.

There. I only created four new shows and pulled some strings for the Bravo shows. Everything else was already there - and it's not that bad, if managed properly.

My personal opinion is that this new lineup is not only cutting edge, but it has a vision and a purpose and flows cohesively.

I know it will never happen, but I guess it's just nice to know that it could.

You’re welcome NBC.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're Not the Only Ones

*So I did a little research and evidently we're not the only ones having the conversation about whether it's acceptable or not to wear a band's t-shirt to their concert. I found this website and it posts A LOT more detailed rules about concert t-shirt etiquette (I've posted their rules below). And of course, if you haven't already, click here for my thoughts on the subject.

1. When wearing another bands t-shirt, try to keep the same genre or influence.
ex. a) David Bowie @ NIN
ex. b) Placebo @ Futureheads

2. The ironic concert t-shirt is the big exception. if you wear a Culture Club or Michael Bolton t-shirt to a Cure show you will get many compliments.

3. There is a sliding scale of the obscurity of the band vs. the genre. For example: A Tapes ‘n Tapes shirt could be worn to any rock show.

4. When wearing a old concert t-shirt to a newer tour by the same band, it is preferred to wait at least eight years. too soon will show you to be lame, but to follow this guide will give you street cred as a long time fan.
*It should also be noted that a shirt purchased off EBay can break this rule, therefore a stain or hole of some sort is required.

5. It is also a violation to wear any shirt of any band members former band or side project to the current incarnation of that band members show.

6. It is a violation to wear the shirt you just bought at that same concert. Especially when it is over whatever you had on before.

7. You may not wear a new concert t-shirt for 2 weeks (especially the next day)
*The exception to this is when you saw a show out of town and wear the shirt at home the next day

8. It is a violation to wear a concert t-shirt you purchased from the band at a second show on the same tour.

9. No Beatles, Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix t-shirts, unless you actually went to one of their concerts.

10. It is a violation to wear a concert t-shirt that has been signed by any member of the band.

I Couldn't Be Happier

*Here is portion of an AP article by TV writer David Bauder (for complete article, click here). Fortunately, I wasn't even tempted to turn over from the football games and check out Leno's new show last night (I started the first game about an hour and a half late on the DVR, so I was able to just fast forward through the commercials all evening). Apparently, I didn't miss much.

NEW YORK - Jay Leno snagged mostly negative reviews with his entry into prime time as he stuck to familiar ground — just 90 minutes earlier.

Monday's premiere of "The Jay Leno Show," which transports the longtime "Tonight Show" host to 10 p.m. EDT weekdays on NBC, was slammed as a "cut-rate, snooze-inducing, rehashed bore" by Robert Bianco of USA Today. And that was even with the presence of Leno's much-buzzed-about guest Kanye West.

The Associated Press' Frazier Moore identified "the biggest difference between Leno's new show and his old one: With his fade-out at 11 p.m., the local news began."

Of course, Leno has never been the critics' darling. The first response from viewers wouldn't be known until Nielsen ratings are released later Tuesday (*click here for those ratings).

But audience numbers aren't likely to sway The Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara, who called the show "a strange, shallow puddle of comedy."

"This is the future of television?" she wrote. "This wasn't even a good rendition of television past."

"The future of `The Jay Leno Show' is likely to look almost exactly like `The Tonight Show' past," complained Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times. "So much ink has been devoted to describing how Mr. Leno's new show would depart from his old one that it was startling to see how little difference there was."

And many questions have swirled: Will a cost-cutting comedy show stripped across weeknights imperil more expensive weekly scripted drama shows? Will the audience embrace this NBC alternative to fictional docs, cops and lawyers? Has fourth-rated NBC found a strategy that not only will improve its fortunes, but also alter the programming landscape on rival networks?

Or will this prove to be NBC's biggest flop yet?

These are questions likely to remain unresolved for months.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Leave It to September

*Be sure to check the post below this one for my newest column, "The Concert T-Shirt Rule".

For most of the summer I scrambled to find topics to ponder, comment on, and most importantly, present to you the reader.

Then September rolls around now there's too much to talk about.

Just yesterday we saw a bizarre VMAs show (the final straw to prove that I'm officially old), football returned (I know the NFL officially kicked off last Thursday but the Eagles played their first game yesterday, so that was opening day for me), and one of the most underrated sitcoms ever said goodbye.

And tonight is the premiere of Jay Leno's new show that will ever be the greatest thing to ever happen to television or the worst thing to ever happen to television or will just happen.

(Just in case you're wondering, I won't be watching. Never mind that live pro football will also be on at the same time, Leno is just not entertaining to me at all)

So to spare you from a week of stories, let me just give you some links to some interesting things happening from the world around us:

- Gus Johnson goes bezerk as Denver Broncos win

- Russell to Jordan: Game on

- VMAs 2009: Best/Worst Moments

- Variety proliferates Jay Leno Show “what-if” theories

- LA Times: TV Insiders hope Jay Leno’s new show fails

- King of the Hill's finale ends the way all good comedies should

And just for fun...

- Harrison Ford Says They Have the Indiana Jones 5 Story

The Concert T-Shirt Rule

Anyone that knows me - and I mean, really knows me - knows that I take pride in maintaining a certain standard of social self awareness. My biggest pet peeve on the planet is when you are in a public setting and someone is clueless or in your way and they have NO IDEA that they're in your way.

When I walk into a store, I legitimately case the joint up and down. I need to know where each department is, who seems to be the quickest chashier, and where the bathroom and exits are.

Basically, I channel my inner Danny Ocean.

When I'm driving on the road, I'm constantly scanning in front and back of me to see who and what is around me. Who is going too fast? Who is going too slow? And who is just an absolute menace to society? I know what lane I'm going to be in and who I'm going to have to pass to get there three minutes before I ever do it.

My personal philosophy is that if you want to be a moron, feel free to do it in the comfort of your own home (you better believe I do), but when you close your front door behind you, the other 6 billion people on earth are kind of depending on you to be on your best behavior so that no one gets hurt.

Or more importantly, so that you don't inconvenience me.

All of that said, I have to admit that I've had a social blind spot that I've just recently been made aware of.

Did you know that when you go to a concert, you're not supposed to wear a t-shirt of the band you're going to see?

Sorry, I didn't.

Yeah, not only is this an actual social thing, apparently it's a major social law among the concert set.
But it doesn't seem like everyone's playing by the rules.

I first found out about it two years ago when my then-Girlfriend (now Wife), buddy Paul, his girlfriend at the time, and I were planning to go to The Killers show outside Washington D.C.

I was so excited about seeing the band for the first time that I ordered a Killers t-shirt about a week before the show and was anxiously awaiting it's arrival so that I could wear it to the show. I breathed a sigh of relief when the shirt arrived in the mail the day before the concert only to have my Girlfriend say that I couldn't actually wear it to the show.

"Why?" I said.

"Because no one does," she responded.

"Ok. I'm gonna go with 'why?' again," I replied.

"You just don't."

As much as I appreciated and trusted her extensive explanation, I needed a second opinion; so I called up Paulie.

"Dude, no!" he shouted before I could even get the question out.

Now I should interject here that I do come from a sports background where you wear as much of your own team's gear to their game as possible.

So why should a music concert be any different?

For some reason, I just let the topic go at that time (rare for me, I know). I didn't wear the shirt to that concert but I've never been able to entirely lay the matter to rest in my brain in the time since.

It came up again on its own last weekend when my buddy Shareef and I went to the Weezer/Blink 182 concert out here in Denver to kick off our week of concerts (we did that one last Sunday and then My Wife and Aarron joined us for The Killers show at Red Rocks on Wednesday night).

Quick side tangent: I was listening to Weezer in the mid-90's and Blink in the late 90's, early 00's when I was a late teen and in my early 20's (I was the PERFECT age for those bands and PS - I'm going to go with "00's" when referring to this past decade and it will be henceforth pronounced as: "oh-oh's". Everyone on board with this?) It's now 2009 and I'm 29 years old.

I only present those facts because the concert was completely littered with teenagers.

Going back to our math before, even if you are 18 years old now in 2009, you were only eight in 1999. I can promise you that these kids weren't listening (or at least shouldn't have been listening) to Blink and I will bet my life that they had no clue what a Weezer was.

So why were they at my concert?

Regardless, Shareef and I couldn't help but notice that the majority of these teenagers were all wearing the same Blink 2009 Tour t-shirt. Thinking that it HAD to be some free give-away, we even went back to the front gate to check it out.

Nope. Just a bunch of kids dropping $30 on the same t-shirt and wearing it at the concert.

Since the perfect opening had presented itself, I asked Shareef his feelings on the subject.

"Ew. You don't do it," he said.

So now three people had confirmed that you aren't supposed to do it but I still didn't have a good reason why.

I floated my sports background rationale to him and Shareef gave me the best answer to date:

"Your band isn't playing against another band," he explained. "You wear your team's colors to show your support for that team in the competition.

"Everyone knows you like the band," he added. "You're already here, you don't have to advertise it.

Great answer.

As we kept talking about it, we each sent out mass texts to a bunch of our musically-inclined/concert-savy friends and the responses were basically unanimous (only one pro-wearing the band's shirt reply and it was using the same sports logic as I had previously held to).

Here are some of the better texts we got back:

"It's redundant"

"Never... it is cooler to be wear ANOTHER band's tshirt to a concert"

And my personal favorite:

"You don't want to be THAT guy"

Just when I was finally feeling some peace on the matter, we witnessed one of the most despicable acts I have ever seen.

The 16-year old kid sitting right in front of us took off the t-shirt he was wearing, put on the same Blink 182 that everyone else was wearing, and then donned a backward Boston Red Sox hat as a cherry on this disgusting social faux pas sundae.

Well, at least he was wearing a Boston hat while we were at a concert in Denver.

So I think I fully understand this social rule and am finally completely on-board and up-to-speed. I didn't wear my Killers t-shirt to the show this past Wednesday and as we all got in the car to drive up to Red Rocks, I threw in the "Sam's Town" cd and was ready to rock out on the way to the show.

"Umm... you can't listen to the cd of the band you're going to see," my Wife said.

Frantically, I looked back to Shareef sitting in the back seat.

"Yeah man," he confirmed. "Can't do it."


Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL Predictions

I'm still exhausted from the Blink concert on Sunday, never mind the late night after The Killers show at Red Rocks last night (more on that later).

So this isn't going to be fancy, but I definitely wanted to get my picks up on the board before the season officially kicks off tonight (PS - did you realize that FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!)

Who do you like to win it all? (I actually do feel like Philly could get back to the Big Show but there's no way I'm picking them publicly)

Feel free to post your thoughts below.


1. Philadelphia*
2. New York*
3. Washington
4. Dallas

1. Green Bay*
2. Minnesota*
3. Chicago
4. Detroit

1. Atlanta*
2. New Orleans
3. Carolina
4. Tampa Bay

NFC WEST (Hardest division to pick for me by far, so I'm going with the radical pick)
1. St. Louis*
2. Arizona
3. Seattle
4. San Francisco


1. New England*
2. Miami
3. New York
4. Buffalo

1. Pittsburgh*
2. Baltimore*
3. Cincinnati
4. Cleveland

1. Indianapolis*
2. Houston*
3. Tennessee
4. Jacksonville

1. San Diego*
2. Denver
3. Kansas City
4. Oakland

- Philadelphia over New York

- Minnesota over St. Louis

Byes: Green Bay, Atlanta

- San Diego over Houston
- Baltimore over Indianapolis

Byes: New England, Pittsburgh

- Green Bay over Minnesota (In an EPIC playoff game for the ages)
- Philadelphia over Atlanta (Vick scores the game winner in Hotlanta)

- New England over Baltimore (In the playoffs, comes down to QB. Brady vs. Flacco?)
- Pittsburgh over San Diego (Are the Chargers the greatest non-great team ever?)

- Green Bay over Philadelphia (Birds can't get traction on frozen tundra)

- Pittsburgh over New England (Defending Champs handle their business)

- Green Bay over Pittsburgh (In a classic match-up between two classic teams)

Let the games begin...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TV Premiere Week

Even though there is nothing that I'm personally interested in until next Thursday, this week officially kicks off the new TV season with returning shows and series premieres.

I thought I would post this handy cheat sheet (courtesy of EW.com) listing the premiere dates of your favorite returning programs as well as the highly anticipated new shows - for a complete list, click here.

Also, in honor of this week, check out the MAHLER MUST LIST to the right of this post and you will see links to different TV related stories and articles that I found interesting and thought you might as well.

Which shows are you most looking forward to returning? Any new ones look any good to you?

Let the new season begin!

Happy viewing...

(PS - Did anyone else know that "Til Death" was still on the air? I sure didn't.)

90210, 8 p.m. (The CW)
Melrose Place, 9 p.m. (The CW)
Sons of Anarchy, 10 p.m. (FX)

America’s Next Top Model, 8 p.m. (The CW)
Glee, 9 p.m. (Fox)
So You Think You Can Dance, 8 p.m. (Fox)

Supernatural, 9 p.m. (The CW)
The Vampire Diaries, 8 p.m. (The CW)

Gossip Girl, 9 p.m. (The CW)
The Jay Leno Show, 10 p.m. (NBC)
One Tree Hill, 8 p.m. (The CW)

Bones, 8 p.m. (Fox)
Community, 9:30 p.m. (NBC)
Fringe, 9 p.m. (Fox)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 10 p.m. (FX)
The Office, 9 p.m. (NBC)
Parks and Recreation, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Survivor: Samoa, 8 p.m. (CBS)

Brothers, 9 p.m. (Fox)
Crash, 10 p.m. (Starz)

Bored to Death, 9:30 p.m. (HBO)
Curb Your Enthusiasm, 9 p.m. (HBO)

Accidentally on Purpose, 8:30 p.m. (CBS)
The Big Bang Theory, 9:30 p.m. (CBS)
Castle, 10 p.m. (ABC)
CSI: Miami, 10 p.m. (CBS)
Dancing with the Stars, 8 p.m. (ABC)
Heroes, 8 p.m. (NBC)
House, 8 p.m. (Fox)
How I Met Your Mother, 8 p.m. (CBS)
Two and a Half Men, 9 p.m. (CBS)

The Forgotten, 10 p.m. (ABC)
The Good Wife, 10 p.m. (CBS)
NCIS, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NCIS: Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (CBS)

Cougar Town, 9:30 p.m. (ABC)
Criminal Minds, 9 p.m. (CBS)
CSI: NY, 10 p.m. (CBS)
Eastwick, 10 p.m. (ABC)
Gary Unmarried, 8:30 p.m. (CBS)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, 9 p.m. (NBC)
Mercy, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Modern Family, 9 p.m. (ABC)
The New Adventures of Old Christine, 8 p.m. (CBS)

CSI, 9 p.m. (CBS)
Flash Forward, 8 p.m. (ABC)
Grey’s Anatomy, 9 p.m. (ABC)
The Mentalist, 10 p.m. (CBS)

Dollhouse, 9 p.m. (Fox)
Ghost Whisperer, 8 p.m. (CBS)
Law & Order, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Medium, 9 p.m. (CBS)
Numb3rs, 10 p.m. (CBS)
Smallville, 8 p.m. (The CW)

Saturday Night Live, 11:30 p.m. (NBC)

60 Minutes, 7 p.m. (CBS)
The Amazing Race, 8 p.m. (CBS)
American Dad, 9:30 p.m. (Fox)
Brothers & Sisters, 10 p.m. (ABC)
Californication, 10 p.m. (Showtime)
The Cleveland Show, 8:30 p.m. (Fox)
Cold Case, 10 p.m. (CBS)
Desperate Housewives, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Dexter, 9 p.m. (Showtime)
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC)
Family Guy, 9 p.m. (Fox)
The Simpsons, 8 p.m. (Fox)

Lie to Me, 9 p.m. (Fox)
Trauma, 9 p.m. (NBC)

Hank, 8 p.m. (ABC)
The Middle, 9 p.m. (ABC)

Private Practice, 10 p.m. (ABC)

Til Death, 8:30 p.m. (Fox)

Ugly Betty, 8 p.m. (ABC)

30 Rock, 9:30 p.m. (NBC)

Southland, 9 p.m. (NBC)

Friday Night Lights, 9 p.m. (DirecTV)

Store Wars: There Is No Hope

While living alone and across the country from anyone I knew for seven months, I discovered a new hobby. It can get kind of expensive, so I was only able to enjoy it a couple times a month. In fact, I even got into a routine where I would wait until my payday every other Friday and it would often be the highlight of my weekend.

It’s an activity that appeals to all sides of my personality and it’s one of those things that make you feel better about yourself and your place in the world once it’s completed.

What can I say? I now love grocery shopping.

I know some people might scoff at that, but I find no reason to be ashamed. Throughout the years, grocery shopping somehow became seen as a feminine activity, but when you really break it down it’s just shopping for food. I like food. I’m very particular about my food. So why wouldn’t I like to shop for my particular favorite kinds of food?

The defense rests.

Grocery shopping lets me incorporate all of my favorite things I could want in a hobby: food, strategy (each time I go, I try to perfect the most efficient battle plan to maneuver throughout the store), and of course, my all-time favorite pastime, making a list!

I get so excited now when I run out of a food item at the house because that means I can add it to my grocery list. As much as I love To-Do Lists, the Grocery List is great because it’s always on-going. Even once you get done with one list, it automatically resets the following week.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

But recently a new factor has entered the picture that is affecting the high I get from the grocery store trip. I’m now slightly off-kilter in the store and find myself going in new patterns and putting odd and strange items in my shopping cart that would have never seen the light of day in my residence before.

It’s almost like an Evil Empire has taken control of my grocery galaxy and I’m now scrambling like the Rebel Forces trying to regroup.

Only this time, the Empire has a much more attractive leader.

She is, of course, my Wife.

We went to the grocery store to do a major shopping as a married couple for the first time yesterday (I should note that she tried to pull a sneak attack and wanted to go by herself while I was at work on Sunday – fortunately I saw through that one) and it became like a game between the two of us, just testing each other out; seeing what ground we could each establish.

I have a few concrete standards that I have to have in the house at all times from now until I die: Doritos, some kind of soda (depends on my mood at the time), and Claussen pickle spears. These items are not open for debate and will not be challenged.

But we did experience a few cases of turf war in other parts of the store.

SNACKS: While living alone, I loaded up on all kinds of chips, fruit snacks (Gushers became my favorites) and every other kind of salty, sugary goodness that I could find. I knew all along that those items would suffer the greatest casualties after marriage, so I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Now we have a box in our cupboard that literally reads “100% Fat Free Thin Crips”.

Does anyone else notice that there is no actual food product listed in that name.

What is a “Crisp” anyway?

Never mind. I don't think I ever want to know.

I wanted to get a variety pack of chips for my lunches (mini-bags of Sour Cream & Chive and Barbeque Lays, Cool Ranch Doritos, Cheetos, etc.) and we somehow bought Goldfish crackers instead.

Advantage – My Wife

BREAD: As a kid, I had to choke down sandwiches on wheat bread (can’t blame my mom, that’s what mom’s are for) but I remember swearing to myself that I would never eat wheat bread ever again once I became an adult. So far, I’ve done a pretty good job keeping to my promise but last week my Wife brought home a loaf of wheat bread and sat it next to my loaf of white. I can barely get through a loaf on my own without mold starting to grow and now we had TWO LOAVES to sit around and go bad?

We agreed that we had to come to some sort of compromise and I was even willing to go as far as honey wheat but then the bread gods smiled on me and she found a white loaf of Sara Lee bread that had “Only 45 Calories” written on the outside packaging, so she conceded and said we could try that.

Many thanks be to you, oh merciful bread gods.

Advantage – ME

CEREAL AND SODAS: Again this is a case of her being Nutri-Grains and Diet Coke and me being Lucky Charms and Mr. Pibb. We’re beginning to discover that this is an “east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet” situation and any discussions to the contrary would be futile at best.

Advantage – Push

With a tie after three rounds, it all came down to one last category to decide this initial bout:

The ice cream.

Sweet mother, the ice cream.

ICE CREAM: I knew this would be a tough one to win and I knew I had to come up with an intelligent, well-thought out plan. It was either go strong or go home hungry, so I dug deep. As health-conscious as she is, my Wife does have one small weakness and I knew my only chance was to exploit it – my baby’s got a sweet tooth.

Nothing in this world terrifies me more than “Fat Free” or “Sugar Free” ice cream (also known as “Taste Free” and “Fun Free”). If I’m going to do ice cream, then let’s make it worth my while. Give me some cookie-dough or Heath bar crunch with caramel syrup dripping all over it.

Why even bother with vanilla flavored ice shavings?

I’m proud to admit that I handled my business like a man and was able to negotiate her down. I’m further happy to report that there is currently NO “Fat Free” or “Sugar Free” ice cream in the house.

Just a couple of weeks into marriage and we’re already learning the value of compromise and developing the art of give and take.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy one of my hard-earned fruit pops.

Ah, the taste of sweet victory.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Living the Wild West Life

Happy Labor Day!

Depending on how today goes, I hope to post a brand new column tomorrow (My Wife signed us up for dog-sitting today, so all bets are off at this point).

We also bought a grill yesterday so we're going to have some new friends over tonight to test it out.
The Grill Master lives, baby!

I'm just waking up this morning and am still coming down off of an EPIC past couple of days. At the rate life long dreams were coming true, I actually had to remind myself a few times that I wasn't dying and this wasn't one of those Make-A-Wish weekends.

Last night my buddy Dan and I went to the Weezer/Blink 182 concert (more on this next week). Weezer is one of those bands that I've always wanted to say that I saw and Blink was legitimately my favorite band 10 years ago. I missed seeing them the first time around and was crushed when they broke up a few years back (I did see Tom DeLonge's Angels & Airwaves unfortunately) and made a point to see them this time around when I heard they were going on tour again together.

Needless to say, 19 year-old Josh had an amazing time last night.

A life-long dream was fulfilled on Saturday as my Wife and I rolled out of bed that morning and just hoped into the car and decided to go wherever the roads took us. We decided to head south as neither of us had ever been past Colorado Spring in that direction.

We decided to check out the infamous Royal Gorge down in Canon City and it was impressive, but more importantly we found something along the way that I had ALWAYS wanted to experience: a working Old West town!

The Old West is the one time period I would have loved to live in (despite the fact that I'm pretty sure I would have only lasted a week) and one of the main reasons my heart kept tugging on me to move to this part of the country for so long.

My Wife was telling some friends about it at church yesterday and they found it amazing that we would even want to go, never mind thoroughly enjoy it. I guess stuff like that here would be like Williamsburg for us - been there, done that a hundred times as a kid.

We love being in a new place with so many new things for us to check out and experience.

I've posted some pictures below and I hope everyone enjoys the holiday. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the Welllumson family today.

Me in front of the old Saloon

My Wife in the main street of the town

Sharp shooter

My Wife with the "Mayor" of the town!

Newlyweds at the Royal Gorge

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Defining the Decade in Music

It started so simple.

While at lunch on Monday, I got a text from buddy Gray who was posing a simple question: In the future when they make movies set in the 2000s, what music will they use on the soundtrack.

I even chuckled at how simple the question was because for a movie set in the '60s or '70s or '80s or '90s you could spend all day coming up with great music from those eras.

But then I started to think about it... and think about it... and think about it... And then I got panicked, because I couldn't come up with anything beyond Coldplay and John Mayer.

And then I freaked out.

It's literally all I've been thinking about since. To the point where I spent ALL DAY yesterday bothering my friends with text messages, e-mails, Tweets, and Facebook updates on the subject.

I stripped down the question and made it even simpler: Name the best bands/artists AND songs from the 2000s.

It stumped everyone.

Here were some of the responses I got:

- "Chili Peppers, Britney, lots of dif rap"

- "Probably the crappy pop/rap music that dominates the radio... that or bands like Fall Out Boy"

-"Kid Rock, Killers, Maroon 5, Nickleback, Daughtry, Fray, Jay-Z"

- "U2 forever!"

Definitely some decent bands in there, but the more we all started thinking about it, the more we realized how generic this decade has been in terms of mainstream music.

Of course I couldn't leave it there, so I did some digging. I started googling "best songs of the 2000s" and most lists consisted of the following titles:

- In Da Club (50 Cent)

- Lose Yourself (Eminem)

- Gold Digger (Kanye)

- Mr. Brightside (The Killers)

- Feel Good, Inc. (The Gorillaz)

- Dani California (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

- Fallin' (Alicia Keys)

- Hey Ya (Outkast)

- Hollaback Girl (Gwen Stefani)

- You're Beautiful (James Blunt)

- Bad Day (Daniel Powter)

- SexyBack (Justin Timberlake)

- Oops! I Did It Again (Britney Spears)

- Beautiful Day (U2)

- Yellow (Coldplay)

- Say My Name (Destiny's Child)

- My Immortal (Evanescence)

Out of that list, can you name one song that defines this decade or could serve as the Song of the Decade?

Maybe "Yellow"? Maybe "Beautiful Day"?

Maybe "Hey Ya"?

Still not satisfied, I kept digging.

From an alt perspective, I received the following two lists from VA-Pilot reporter Mike Gruss and my buddy Jesse Phipps, respectively:

- From Mike: http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/7693-the-top-500-tracks-of-the-2000s-20-1/

- From Jesse: http://www.vinylsurrender.com/Music/Decade/2000s.php

And as you can see, it's like a whole other era of music as the songs listed above. Jesse even went from saying this decade was the second worst only to the 1970s to reconsidering that it was the best EVER after looking through Mike's list.

At the end of the day, I still don't know how to define this decade in music in quantitative terms.

Here's what we know so far:

- The 2000s have given us some of the worst mainstream music ever.

- The 2000s have given us some of the best indie/underground music ever.

- The gap between indie/underground and mainstream has never been wider - meaning there are mainstream songs from the '90s that still hold up a decade later (i.e. "Wonderwall") where as "Hollaback Girl" isn't exactly going to go down as a timeless classic.

- In terms of influence, the 2000s have done nothing for music... so far (Whether you liked it or not, the '80s gave us Techno and Synth and the '90s gave us Grunge. What have we gotten from the 2000s? Lady Gaga? Please. But what if 10 years from now, we realize that the '00s were influential in making Dance more mainstream? Jury is still out on this one). Jesse even sent me a text this morning that I thought was spot on: "The last decade excels in this context - fidelity and depth with a higher price put on quality than on originality.

I STILL couldn't find peace so I had to bother my buddy Paul before bed (Gotta give Paulie credit for yesterday's performance - he woke up in Atlanta, flew to Ohio for business, flew back to Atlanta and still had enough to debate the decade in music with me for a few minutes before he crashed).

Here are the two things we discovered during our conversation:

1. I don't think this decade has/will have had one distinct, discernible sound. At the end of any heated debate, you can always wrap up any discussion about the '90s with one word: Grunge. The '80s were... The '80s! and that's definition enough. Everyone knows what sound you are talking about.

With the 2000s, we started with the boy-band-radio-pop sound, moved to a more of an indie-rock, and are finishing the decade with a Euro-pop- dance-heavy influence

AND, OH BY THE WAY, for the record I can only think of ONE BAND from this era (not even going to mention their name because I don't want to sound like a homer) that released three different albums over the past 10 years that each, individually so perfectly captured the three different vibes mentioned above: "Hot Fuss" = radio-pop, "Sam's Town" = indie-rock, "Day and Age" = Euro-dance-pop.

There's a reason why they're my favorite band.

I'm just saying.

(PS - My Wife and I are going to see them live next week in our first ever concert at Red Rocks. Everyone says your first concert there is a spiritual experience. I might just spontaneously combust. It is a VERY legitimate possibility at this point.)

2. And this point might be the biggest factor of all in this debate. Most of my friends (that I've been having this discussion with) and I are in that 25-30 age bracket. For me, I've spent my entire 20's in the 2000s and here is a quick breakdown of the life roller coaster that I've experienced in this 10 year span: in college, started comedy show, interned at Letterman, dropped out of school, engaged, broken engagment, drove across the country TWICE, tried to move to California, moved back home, went back to school, tried to make a magazine work, on TV and the radio, engaged, moved to Denver, Colorado, answering phones, MARRIED.

I'm a COMPLETELY different person now than I was at the start of this era, so it's not a leap to assume that will affect the way I listen to and view the music around me.

Is that the reason why we're all having a hard time defining this time of music because we're still trying to define this time in our own lives?

Maybe we're still just too close to it to see it for what it is and has been.

Only time will tell I suppose.

So to answer Gray's original question, we just don't know yet. You have to know if they remake "The Wedding Singer" in 2028, be prepared for a steady diet of hip-hop, Lady Gaga, and James Blunt. But if it's a emo, soul-searching film, I would expect a lot of The Shins, Snow Patrol, FedEx, and the Postal Service (oh wait, one of those isn't a real band name? Could have fooled me).

It will just depend on the movie I guess, just like it will depend on how we decide to look back at this era of music and this era of our lives.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


One of my favorite nerdy TV industry websites, www.tvbythenumbers.com, is already debating which show(s) CBS should air in the coveted post-Super Bowl time spot this coming February.

Basically their discussion comes down two options, either a full hour of their recent hit, "The Mentalist" to give it some more exposure or a hour comedy block featuring episodes of "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory".

Obviously I'm partial to "Big Bang" (and have been absolutely shocked with how the show is counting to grow - both creatively and in the ratings), but what is CBS' and the media's fascination with "Two and a Half Men".

If you go to to the link, they've set up a poll at the bottom of the page asking readers which show(s) should get that spot and the results didn't surprise me at all:

(As of today at 9:30AM, MST)

1. Big Bang (29%, 323 votes)

2. Mentalist (18%, 203)

3. HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (16%, 181)

4. Survivor (10%, 113)

5. Some Other Show (10%, 107)

6. NCIS: LA (8%, 85)

7. NCIS (5%, 57)

8. Two and a Half Men (4%, 39)

Hmm... A couple things instantly jump out at me:

- "HIMYM" finished solidly in third (and is in a tight race for second), yet is getting NO consideration.

- "Two and a Half Men" finished in dead last.

- "Two and a Half Men" finished behind "NCIS: LA" which hasn't even aired yet.

- "Two and a Half Men" finished behind SOME OTHER SHOW.


I know it's been the "highest rated comedy" for the past five years or so, but WHO IS WATCHING THIS SHOW???


Have you EVER met one single human being that has admitted to watching "Two and a Half Men" on a regular basis? Have you met anyone that has admitted to watching it occasionally? Have you ever seen blogs or discussion groups buzzing about what happened on last night's episodes?


I have to have ONE PERSON leave a comment at the end of this post that they (A) love this show, (B) regularly watch it, (C) occasionally watch it, or (D) saw it one time and thought it was slightly humorous.

I promise I won't make fun of you. I PROMISE. This is just more for my own peace of mind that this isn't some great conspiracy where Charlie Sheen committed to doing the show only if CBS falsified the ratings.

I get it that Sheen and Jon Cryer are a draw for the 80's crowd and maybe that crowd just doen't blog or aren't as vocal about it as our generation, but the show itself is legitimately unwatchable. Believe me, I'VE TRIED. We even tried a few times at our old TV Group and it was just silence and sadness in the room until we were able to snap back to reality and quickly change the channel.

And now they're going to put it on after the Super Bowl?

I understand a lot about the TV industry. I get why more people watched "Friends" than "Frasier" and why "Frasier" won more awards. I get why people like "Seinfeld". I get why old people don't like "Conan" and why they do like "Leno". I get why most people think "The Office" is about Jim and Pam's relationship when in reality, it's about Michael and Dwight's. I get why "Scrubs" didn't work on NBC. I get "Arrested Development" didn't work on Fox. I get demographics. I get scheduling. I get the vibe and nuances of each network. I even get who "Two and a Half Men" would be targeted towards.

But for the life of me, I will NEVER understand how that show could be the highest rated comedy in ANY era, let alone this one, when I have yet to meet another living, breathing member of the human species that has acknowledged ever watching that show.

There's just no evidence of it and as you can see, it's starting to drive me to the point of insanity.

Please, just put me out of my misery.