Monday, January 31, 2011

From LA Examiner: Insight on 'Shameless' and 'Chuck' Men of Mystery; The Cape Faces New Challenges; 'The Chicago Code' Takes On Corruption...

"Shameless' Justin Chatwin offers insight on his man of mystery"

So far it is the kids of Shameless who have been spotlighted, and rightly so. Last week was an extremely big episode for Cameron Monaghan’s Ian, who came out to a classmate, as well as Emma Kenney‘s Debbie who got oddly attached to the little old woman they “borrowed” to pretend to be their Aunt Ginger. Tonight’s episode proves to be another big one for Debbie, who is so distraught now over losing her Aunt Ginger that she steals a baby. Yes, you read that right. Because what the Gallaghers need are more mouths to feed! ... [MORE]

"An Open Letter to Chuck Bartowski"

Chuck Bartowski, it’s time to put your big boy pants on. Okay, Chuck (Zachary Levi), we know you still often consider yourself still “just” a civilian who has been given an extraordinary circumstance but really that was never the case. You were a special boy from the day you sat down in front of your dad’s old wall of computers and hit play, looking a video you really had no business seeing. And yet you survived it. And thus started you down the path towards greatness... [MORE]

"The Cape faces new inner challenges and Mena Suvari as a new adversary"

In tonight’s episode of The Cape, entitled “Dice,” Peter Fleming (James Frain) and the ARK Corporation prepare to unveil a special device that has the ability to alter the fate of Palm City but may be brought down by an unlikely foe. Tracey Jerrod aka Dice herself (guest star Mena Suvari), a young savant and the inspiration for the device, actually targets Chess himself to avenge her father’s death. Vince (David Lyons) learns that in order to fully destroy Chess and all he is doing, he must actually keep him alive a little bit longer, so he works on mastering new abilities to aid with this, all while grappling with how his decision will affect his family... [MORE]

"The Chicago Code takes on ugly corruption through beautiful screenwriting"

Chicago police officers should have their hands full protecting their fine city from the crime and corruption, but Shawn Ryan’s newest FOX drama, The Chicago Code, makes a heavy-handed effort to showcase the crime and corruption within their own departments is a much bigger threat than every thief and mobster combined... [MORE]

Saturday, January 29, 2011

'Supernatural' Saturdays: A Giveaway To Tide You Over!...

Dear Supernatural Fans:

I know this weekend is going to be rough on you. You were expecting to see your boys back in action last night, and unfortunately due to circumstances beyond your control you could not. Now you have to wait a whole extra week, which can lead to the same kind of screaming that Sam expelled when his soul was being crammed back into his body. In other words, waiting is not fun.

There has been some talk floating around Twitter that some of you have created clever but mean hashtags to flood The CW's Twitter with in regards to the decision to bump the return of this show (and of Smallville-- we must never forget Smallville) to February 4th. I am here to reiterate the chatter I have seen that that behavior is never the answer. The decision is done; it was made by much higher-ups than the people who patrol that Twitter ID. Besides, it's only a week.

I know; I know; of course I can say "only," right? After all, I've already seen the episode. Well, how about we compromise then? Instead of dwelling on what we don't have, why don't we celebrate what we do?

Supernatural is an amazingly unique show filled with clever stories and really talented individuals-- both behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera. And the fandom is just as unique, too. Many of the fans have come together online and created real, deep, meaningful friendships that will last far longer than the series itself. Just recently I have gotten one of my friends into the show, and now I encourage you to use this week to do the same!

In order to help you do so, I am hosting a giveaway of the first season of Supernatural. I know all of you long-time fans probably already have multiple copies. But maybe you want a "clean" copy to get autographed at the next convention? Or perhaps you want to give it to a friend so he or she will start watching? Or perhaps you just need a new one because you wore your old one out?

Or maybe you are someone yourself who wants to get into the series? Well, I'd of course rather you watch legally than download, so I'm here to help!

You can enter to win a copy of the first season of Supernatural on DVD simply by leaving a comment below OR Tweeting me with the episode that first had you hooked on the series and why. Or if you are someone who has not yet had a chance to start watching, just leave a comment with why you want to start now. It's that simple!

You can enter as many times as you want between now and Tuesday, February 1st. This is a short contest so I can mail the DVD out to you before the new episode.

Ready? Set! Gush!

Friday, January 28, 2011

From LA Examiner: Amazing Cameos on 'The Office' and 'Childrens Hospital'...

"The Office Face-Off: Michael Scott vs David Brent"

Say what you will about The Office this season-- and believe us, we have heard a lot! Not enough Jim and Pam; Dwight is getting too mean; the show can't survive without Steve Carell; etc etc etc. For the record, we don't necessarily agree with all of those points, but it is the commentary sent our way. Anyway, say what you will about The Office this season, but tonight it superceded our wildest expectations with a cold open sure to be heard around the watercooler. If the watercooler still existed. Instead, it has been heard around Twitter... [MORE]

"Rob Corddry previews who will be admitted to Childrens Hospital this season"

Earlier this month when LA TV Insider Examiner attended the Adult Swim and Childrens Hospital presentation at the winter press tour in Los Angeles, we had a really hard time trying to decipher what was going to happen in season three of the web-turned-TV series and what was just a stage full of comedians having fun at the reporters' expenses. So we were more than thrilled when we got to visit the set of Childrens Hospital yesterday to see if we could get the record set straight when we were one-on-one with the cast members... [MORE]

I Squee For A Good List...

Many of you know I have contributed to a number of different websites over the past few years that I have been focused on writing, but one that I have a lot of fun with is a relatively new site called SqueeTV that was started by a friend and ex-TV Guide reporter, Erin Fox. It's not a news site but a place to find unique recaps of some of your favorite shows, fun photo galleries, interviews with television talent, and a countdown to Los Angeles area fan events, such as PaleyFest and Creation Entertainment's conventions. And now also, quite a few new "list" articles!

My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture is no stranger to a good list piece (um, hello Hottie Awards!), I admit that at times they are just gratuitous. But my last few pieces for Squee have been much more newsworthy list items! From songs I want glee to take on (and which characters should perform them) to the top ten reasons to be excited about this third season of Parks and Recreation, I think there may also be a little something for everyone. So please click on the links below to head over to Squee and check them out!

"Casting the new Wonder Woman"

NBC announced they picked up David E. Kelley's penned reboot of the hit Glamazonian superhero, and I wanted to weigh in with a few of the pretty and talented ladies who should be in the running. Fun parlor game: try to figure out which of the seven names was submitted by my editor for consideration...

"Welcome Supernatural back with a mini-marathon"

Just in time for the new episodes of Supernatural to (finally!) return, kicking off a couple of very special, very unique fan events here in Los Angeles, I look back on my five favorite fan-oriented episodes from the first five seasons. In a few weeks we're about to get another one: a meta, meta, meta for the sake of meta one where Dean and Sam wake up as actors named Jensen and Jared in an alternate universe, and I'm afraid the show may jump the proverbial shark with that moment. But at least I'll always have these to bask in...

"10 Reasons Parks & Recreation's Return Was More Than Worth The Wait"

From guest stars to poking fun at unconscionable pop culture phenomenons to new relationships and explorations of long-teased ones, these are my top ten reasons why everyone should be looking forward to the return of Parks and Recreation, a fall show in a mid-season timeslot. I'm not sure who I missed more: Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson, or Andy Dwyer!

Hey Dan Harmon: Stop Stealing From My Childhood!...

It was odd enough to meet Abed and realize he used all things pop culture to relate to life the way I had grown up doing so. But then last night on Community Annie put on an anti-drug play for a local middle school, featuring a crayon, some bumble bees, and cool cats. Errrr, what?

I was a cool cat! Not in college, but in kindergarten, and still in some version of an anti-drug play. We did a performance about health, and there was a big portion devoted to not smoking. It was ironic because my kindergarten teacher smelled more like cigarettes and moth balls than even my own grandmother... But anyway we had homemade costumes with little fuzzy cat ears (sadly no leather jackets, though), and we sang and danced to a number called "Smoke Is No Joke."

I may not have been tripping balls while watching "Celebrity Pharmacology" last night, but I still experienced wicked flashbacks nonetheless!

Poor Jeff and Britta: their embarrassing performances can be forever captured on YouTube., to be passed around their friends and shown to their future children, and probably to go viral. Thankfully mine is only captured on a grainy, distant old VHS. And since no one actually has VCRs anymore, only a handful of my current friends can hold it over me!

Who Did It Better: Telethon Edition...

In season two of Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope signed her Pawnee Parks Department underlings up for the worst possible block of time during a charity telethon. She scarfed Nutri-Yum bars by the fistful, fought off Ron Swanson's sleep-fighting, discussed her favorite Friends episodes on-air at length and pledged her own money to get the total to her own personal goal.

Last night, 30 Rock played their own hand at a (celebrity) telethon when Jack got the genius idea to pretape something to ready for the night of a disastrous event. After all, telethons are not usually ratings juggernauts because all of the networks air them at the same time. But what if he had a leg up on the competition? Sure, this way it really isn't all about helping the cause (hell, what the cause is can (and will have to) be filled in later. Nonetheless, the show also paraded its stars on a stage to show off their maybe not-so-hidden talents and raise money and awareness for a (well, good was relative in last night's case) cause.

30 Rock had actual celebrities and a really generic but still emotional song from Jenna and Robert DeNiro-- but his cred is diminished somewhat after SNL. Parks and Recreation had local celebrities, a performance by Mouse Rat and Ron Swanson...recaning an old chair. Hmm, personally My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture thinks this one may be a draw. And quite frankly I'd welcome either of them as telethons for my cause*!

*In case you want to donate to my current cause: Get DanielleTBD to Jensen's Jam Session at LACon, my paypal email address is Checks are also accepted and you can email me for the mailing address.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Charlie Sheen Is Bleeding But At Least CBS Isn't Hemorrhaging Money, Right?...

A few weeks ago at the TCAs, Nina Tassler stood on stage and only agreed to answer one Charlie Sheen question from the group of journalists, bloggers, and critics who even back then were concerned with the fate of one of the eye network's highest rated programs. She gave a very generic, very politically correct blanket statement that Sheen is a consummate professional when he is on set and that whatever happens when he goes home at night, it does not affect his job performance. Something she thought was apparent by the weekly episodes. At the time I remember nodding in agreement with her but still waiting for her to add the "but of course" that should always come with such a statement.

"But of course so many in this industry are functioning addicts."

"But of course we acknowledge he has some issues he must work through."

"But of course we care about him as a person-- a father-- and we only want what is best for him."

How idealistic I somehow still managed to be! Of course, none of those statements followed. Tassler simply moved on to the next question, and Sheen stayed out of the tabloids for a few days, so it seemed like maybe things were going to chug along.

Where are all of Charlie Sheen's "real" friends??

Then earlier today Sheen's publicist released a statement that he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai right here in Los Angeles with "severe abdominal pain." There was much buzz all throughout the day about what that amounted to: some outlets reported he had died or was on death's door, while others contacted some of the working girls he frequents to see if they were with him the night before or knew anyone who was. Sheen himself stated that he "laughed so hard" at something on TV that he ruptured a hernia. Jeebus, maybe I've snorted or choked on water with the strongest Modern Family or 30 Rock but his story just sounded absolutely insane and ridiculous.

What upset me was not Sheen's statement. He is an addict, and addicts lie just as quickly and easily as they breathe. They are shrouded in their disease, and lying is often the only way that keeps them in that disease. Sheen's denial was expected, and he can't be held accountable while he is immersed in his own muddy mind.

What upset me was the publicist constantly covering for him. What upset me was recalling Tassler's statement and realizing the ramifications. What upset me was the studio and the network putting their cash cow in front of a man in deep pain. What upset me was that some insurance company was still allowing Sheen to work. What upset me was that Sheen was in, no doubt, violation of his contract but was still being allowed to work. What upset me was that everyone was enabling; no one was telling Sheen no or forcing him to look at himself and his situation, if not for himself, if not for the longevity of his career, but for his kids.

Who would have ever guessed Denise Richards would be the more stable, sane one in that family?

None of this is new, nor should it be news. But what certainly will be news is if Sheen succumbs to his disease, either by overdosing or simply by dying young due to a hard partying lifestyle. That will most certainly have the studio and network publicists scrambling, especially if his show is still going strong.
Sheen is not the only one who needs to understand (and care about) the road he is heading down.

I don't pretend to have all of the answers about addiction. I don't know what those in Sheen's life should do to "fix" him. I'm honestly not one hundred percent convinced he can be "fixed," either. But I do know that if even a teeny, tiny part of him wants help, all of these people covering for him and making excuses are not making it easy for him to look into getting that help. Excuses are so much easier to grasp than help, and if they are an option, an addict stuck in his or her disease will choose that option every time.

This should be a wake-up call for all of those in Sheen's life: YOU are the ones who have the greater responsibility here. Whether or not the "suitcase full of cocaine" rumor was true, it is no secret that Sheen is still surrounded by a bad crowd. And yes, I am including everyone on the Two and a Half Men family in that. Jon Cryer can go on Conan's talk show and make all the jokes he wants about checking TMZ every morning to see if he has to go into work that day, but it won't be funny the day he finds out he never has to go back in and the fingers begin being pointed. I'm pointing to them now so hopefully a tragedy can be avoided.

Michael Jackson's "doctor" is on trial for manslaughter for enabling his addict, but it doesn't have to end that way.

There was a time in Matthew Perry's life when he was up to his elbows in booze and pills and women, too. He was a huge star on the rise, on a hit network television show, from a famous family, with more money than he could spend in a lifetime. Sound familiar? I don't exactly know how or why Perry knew it was time to get clean; the moment of clarity happens for different times for different addicts. Some of them never reach that point. But he managed to save himself, so I believe Sheen can, too.

Sheen doesn't seem to acknowledge he has a problem the way Perry seemed to know he did. And while it's true that you can't truly get sober if you don't really, truly want to, it does not help to have no one holding you accountable. If Sheen worked a "regular" job, there is no doubt in my mind he would have been fired a long time ago. I'm not saying firing him now would be the slap in the face he needs; it actually could go the complete other way and send him off on a bender. It appears free time is something he just can't handle. But if someone doesn't step up and step in and prove the severity of his situation, it's only going to get worse.

The studio and the network may think they have a potential PR nightmare under control right now but they are putting a band aid on a bullet-wound.

From LA Examiner: The CW's Eye-Candy Returns (And Adds A New One!)...

Some fans of The Vampire Diaries are head over heels in love with the newest werewolf on the block, Tyler (Michael Trevino), and some are simply saddened by him and how “unlucky” he seems to be. After all, he didn’t have the easiest upbringing; he lost his father a year ago; his friends betray him; and he unwittingly unlocked a family curse that turned him into one such wolf. Hardly just another day in the life, right? ... [MORE]

After a long winter, The CW is finally ready to give us new episodes of Nikita. Perhaps they hoped the long absence would give us time to adjust to the major changes from the last few episodes, most notably the somewhat senseless death of Thom (Ashton Holmes). Oh, please don’t be upset we just reminded you! And to make it up to us The CW is giving us a new potential love interest for Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), and to make it up to you LA TV Insider Examiner is giving you a first look at the character, as seen through the eyes of his portrayer, Thad Luckenbill... [MORE]

It feels like a long, long time since we here at LA TV Insider Examiner got to sit down and write about Supernatural. We mean more than just the weekly live-Tweet-a-longs we do for the west coast airings. But just because we’ve fallen a little silent with preview commentary doesn’t mean we haven’t been following the show in all of its post-pit world. And all of this time away has only made the expectations for the return episode, “Like A Virgin,” grow exponentially in our minds. Lucky for us, the episode more than delivers! ... [MORE]

From LA Examiner: All Things 'Archer'!...

"Aisha Tyler talks all things Archer (and a little Black Ops & Thirteen)"

Last night the Paley Center for Media right here in Los Angeles held a sneak peek panel and party for the second season of FX’ prolific animated spy series, Archer. LA TV Insider Examiner was on the scene to chat with the cast prior to the event’s official start and then sit in on the screening (of the series premiere “Swiss Miss,” as well as an upcoming episode called “Pipeline”). Archer is the kind of show for which you definitely need a DVR: even if you are just watching the episodes home, alone, you will inevitably miss something funny and clever because you were still chuckling over the last funny and clever happening. And last night that proved to be more than true when we screened the episodes in a room of about one hundred and fifty other diehard fans, as well as those who worked on the show... [MORE]

"Chris Parnell on Cyril Figgis (Archer): Maybe no longer a sex addict but a dad??"

Last we saw Cyril Figgis (FX' Archer) he had pretty much went through the entire ISIS agency-- or at least the half with two X chromosomes. Sterling's sloppy seconds or otherwise. Okay, let's face it, mostly Sterling's sloppy seconds! But when we had the chance to catch up with Cyril himself, Chris Parnell, in Los Angeles at the Paley Center for Media's sneak peek at season two, he shared that things may turn around...just not necessarily for the better... [MORE]

Adam Reed is thrilled his half-hour animated comedy about a super secret government agency of spies, Archer, is on FX, and more importantly that it’s coming back for a second season. The showrunner shared with LA TV Insider Examiner that originally his agents told him he couldn’t walk into a network and pitch a period piece show, and while that may be true of broadcast, cable has embraced him.... [MORE]

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From LA Examiner: 'Parks and Recreation', 'Cougar Town', 'Mr. Sunshine', 'Mad Love' & 'Community': Comedies Done Right, Across Networks and Nights...

"Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson teaches children about greatness and failure"

It's only Tuesday. That means there are still 48 hours before Thursday night unveils its second-ever three-hour comedy block. We're excited already; aren't you??
Parks and Recreation gave us a taste at Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman)'s essential characteristics to become a great man last week, but what you didn't see was how he gave his Pee Wee basketball team the homework assignment of creating their own. Something tells us he won't be happy until he undoes all of the "sharing and caring" these boys learn in elementary school! And we're quite okay with that, by the way... [MORE]

"Cougar Town brings out the big kid in all of us!"

Cougar Town gave us the soon-to-be national pastime of Penny Can, but by now some of us ADD-generation viewers may be looking for the next fad, amIright? Well, look no further! Cougar Town is about to deliver again with a new, somewhat more adult, version of hide-and-seek tonight in “Lost Children.” ... [MORE]

"Mr. Sunshine reunites Matthew Perry and James Lesure"

LA TV Insider Examiner hopes you all remember a little show from Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The behind-the-scenes at a late-night sketch show within the show drama was sadly short-lived, but it still managed to inspire longer-term relationships. First and foremost was the one between Schlamme and series star Matthew Perry, who are now bringing ABC Mr. Sunshine, but also was one between Perry and James Lesure... [MORE]

"Jason Biggs previews Mad Love's Valentine's Day premiere"

CBS announced this morning that their new romantic comedy Mad Love will be premiering a week earlier than originally planned. The bump up is perfect marketing for the series about young men and women in New York just trying to find love, as its first airdate is now February 14th, Valentine’s Day. So whether you’re heading out with a significant other that evening or staying home with a bottle of wine, you’ll want to set your DVR for this one! ... [MORE]

"Community delivers a Very Special (anti-drug) episode"

On a weekly basis when LA TV Insider Examiner isn’t lucky enough to have a screener for the new episode of Community, we take quite a bit of pleasure in taking a look at all of the promotional photos and trying to make sense of them for ourselves. No matter what kind of wacky story line we create in our own head, we know Dan Harmon has created one ten times better on script…and then on screen... [MORE]

Woof Wednesday #90...

Madison is taking a sick day today, so please enjoy this classic picture of baby Madison mugging for the camera instead...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From LA Examiner: WEtv Premieres Two New Reality Shows Featuring Strong Comediennes...

"Joan Rivers proves family "is all that f**king counts" on WEtv"

If Joan Rivers isn’t eligible for an Oscar for her highly acclaimed (and highly recommended, we must add!) documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, then she seems to be setting her sights on an Emmy for reality programming with a brand new half-hour lifestyle show on WEtv: Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? ... [MORE]

"Tammy Pescatelli is out to inspire the
Real Housewives of...Meadville, PA?"

WEtv is premiering a brand new reality series tonight from the life and mind of stand-up comedienne Tammy Pescatelli, who you probably best know from her run on another little reality series, NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Pescatelli was LA TV Insider Examiner’ pick to take home the title during her season, and while she didn’t, she told us that her experience, “as crazy as it was, was a really rewarding [one] not only for career but also for friendships.” In fact, you may just see a few familiar faces pop up on A Stand-Up Mother’s premiere tonight and in subsequent episodes... [MORE]

Monday, January 24, 2011

From LA Examiner: 'Castle' and 'Chuck' Turn Up The Suspense; Meaghan Rath Promises A Darker Side of 'Being Human'; Go Behind-The-Scenes w/Community...

"Tonight's Castle will have you on the edge of your seat with suspense"

Are you the kind of active viewer who yells things at the television while tuning into the newest episodes of high drama? Well, then prepare to have a sore throat in the morning because tonight’s episode of Castle is a doozy! ... [MORE]

"Being Human’s Sally is sweet but Meaghan Rath promises to delve darker"

“She’s on a huge journey, and one thing that I love about the character so much is that she starts off one way and ends up in a completely different place,” Syfy’s Being Human series star Meaghan Rath confided to LA TV Insider Examiner during a phone interview last week... [MORE]

"Want to go behind-the-scenes with your faves from Community?"

When LA TV Insider Examiner is feeling particularly giving (or when we have enough advance notice), we always head over to Twitter and ask our followers and fans of the shows about which we write to submit questions for their favorite stars. Well, now Community is cutting out the middlemen (i.e. entertainment reporters like me) and just taking questions directly... [MORE]

"The women in Chuck's life to team up TONIGHT on NBC"

If you thought things weren’t looking so good for Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi)’s lady love after she announced her plan to go undercover to take down Volkoff (Timothy Dalton) in last week’s episode of Chuck…well, you’re not going to be so happy with tonight’s episode either... [MORE]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

From LA Examiner: CMT's Copies 'Reba'; More From The 'Episodes' Gang; ABC Family Bastardizes 'Mean Girls'; Allison Janney is Shameless on ABC...

"CMT turns Melissa Peterman into a Working Class hero"

Melissa Peterman stars as a-- pun intended-- Working Class single mom in CMT’s plucky original sitcom of the same name. Struggling financially in a down economy, she wants to do anything she can to give her three kids and one slacker brother (adorable newcomer Steve Kazee) the good life, so she moves them to an upscale neighborhood-- one that might be slightly out of her price range. That, in a nutshell, says it all about the series: it’s not the smartest move, but the intentions are good... [MORE]

"Episodes is the I Love Lucy of our day. What? Who said that??"

In the third episode of Episodes airing tonight, you will see a set being built for the fictional show within a show. The construction is going on just after a table read for the first episode, but the producers of the new Showtime comedy want to remind you that the focus is not really on Hollywood... [MORE]

"Mean Girls 2 stops the dancing and stops the fun"

Mean Girls 2 airs on ABC Family tonight. LA TV Insider Examiner is so obsessed with the original (that’s right; we said it!), that when we first heard this was being pushed into production we literally groaned out-loud. Why trample on perfection, right? Besides, Saved by the Bell: The New Class didn’t work, so why should we assume Mean Girls: The New Class (our not-so-affectionate title, not the network’s) would?... [MORE]

"Allison Janney brings shamelessness to Mr. Sunshine"

Allison Janneyshot roles in two very separate, very distinct pilots last season and unfortunately had to bow out of one when she found they were both going to “go” on their respective networks. Her choice was to stick with ABC’s Mr. Sunshine, which ended up getting a February premiere date, while the series she bowed out of, Shameless, premiered on Showtime earlier this month (her role was recast with Joan Cusack). Admittedly, it may be a bit too early to judge whether or not that was a smart decision for the veteran actor who seems to know what she’s doing when it comes to picking her scripts, but we asked Janney to weigh in nonetheless... [MORE]

"Tyler Labine spills the beans about sleeping with Brittany Snow in Mad Love"

CBS has a new half-hour comedy about four single New Yorkers falling in and out of love. Mad Love won't premiere until February 21st, right after How I Met Your Mother, but earlier this month LA TV Insider Examiner got to sit down with the cast to hear all about relationship drama, both on and off screen... [MORE]

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Somebody Spilled The Glue...All Over My TV Watching Habits!...

My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture loves swag. That's kind of a "Well, duh" moment by now, huh? I also spend an unconscionable amount of time watching television. Another moment of stating the obvious. You could say that I do because I get paid to, but really, I was doing it long before I was earning any money for it. In fact, doing it for a living kind of became a way to justify the behavior to begin with. But I enjoy sharing what I'm watching and why with the world. After all, I believe television and its shows and personalities have the ability to change and shape people, so I want to pinpoint the good examples out there so others can turn out better than I did.

But anyway recently a friend turned me onto a website where you can get stickers for "checking in" to the programs you watch. Get Glue offer stickers for special occasions like season premieres and finales of certain shows, as well as "Fan" and "Superfan" stickers when you check in numerous times to the same show. They give you a goal to work towards, you guys! And occasionally there are hidden stickers you can unlock by checking in using a specific word or phrase. There's intrigue! And mystery! And kind of a "collect as many as you can" scenario that brings me back to the good ole days of my childhood and Pogs.

Remember Pogs?? Little round buttons of cardboard, which, when you think about it are just versions of these Get Glue stickers. I never actually played the game. In fact I'm not quite sure I ever even learned the full rules. All I understood was that, like the game of Magic, you could lose or trade in the process of the game, and I reveled in my collection. I had some kickass Pogs: Beverly Hills 90210 Pogs, scented pogs, custom Pogs of my friends and my dog I made with a "make your own Pog" machine... You could say I hoarded them; I kept them tucked nice and safe away in a binder; I couldn't risk losing even one!
I preferred to just build a nice collection the old fashioned way: by buying them.

You don't have to buy anything on Get Glue. It's basically Foursquare, but since it lets you check in to all kinds of media (I'm just much more focused on television with its abundance of sticker rewards than any of the others), it's much more up my alley. The stickers are like the Girl Scout badges I never got-- because I was never in Girl Scouts. I wear them proudly on my profile on the website, and if I so choose on my Facebook profile and Twitter feed, too, and now, I can quite literally wear them proudly.

Because if virtual swag isn't enough for you, Get Glue has recently upped the ante by offering free copies of whatever stickers from your collection that they have in stock by simply submitting your mailing address through the website. They will send twenty at a time, completely free of charge. Half the fun is waiting for your package, wondering which ones will turn up in your mailbox!

But wait; there's more! Through partnerships with studios and networks like Showtime, every time you check in to certain shows you are entered to win copies of DVDs or percentages off purchases in the official shows' online stores. ...Let's face it, though; they had me with the stickers. With each new season or show premiere comes a variety of new things to collect. And really, that's all I've ever really wanted.

'Supernatural' Saturdays: Guest Stars I Hope Will Return...

The sixth season of Supernatural thus far has been all about resetting the rules for the demon-hunting drama. After Lucifer and Michael fell into "the pit" at the end of season five, Dean went off to live a so-called normal life with his one-time lady love, Lisa, while Sam, minus one soul, went off to hunt...well, not so solo. He teamed up with his grandfather, who had somehow managed to be brought back from death, too. With the show constantly bringing back old faces, sometimes at unexpected times, and sometimes just in unexpected ways, no one should be off limits, right? So My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture has a few suggestions for characters and guest stars we want to see pop up again* soon!

*Other than the obvious Papa and Mama Winchester and surrogate mama Ellen, that is...

Cassie Robinson (Megalyn Echikunwoke). Long before Lisa was even a glimmer in the Supernatural writers' eyes, Dean had a long-lost love he cared so much for he actually spilled the truth about his family business. These two had crazy chemistry, and she may have been the first girl Dean dated...for more than one night. When they reconnected years later in the episode Route 666, the attraction was still more than there and we got the first look at carnal Dean. And it was a look he wore well. Besides it would add to his already conflicted-feelings about leaving Lisa if suddenly someone else he loved popped up.

Adam Milligan (Jake Abel). Personally I want to see what it would look like if he was pulled from the pit after over a year of being batted around down there. He died a horrible death because of who his family was long before he ever got to meet most of them and then got pulled out of the ground once, to be used as a pawn in a sick game of which he most likely wanted no part. If we thought NoSoul Sam was an angry (or empty) guy, well, Adam has way more to build on in that. I want to see what it would look like if the brothers arrived at a job only to realize the demon they had to take on was their own brother, a kid who, in many ways, they got into this mess to begin with. I bet that'll tug on your heartstrings!

The Ghostfacer team (AJ Buckley, Travis Wester, Austin Basis, Brittany Ishibashi). The world has changed since the apocalyptic shift at the end of season five, and I wonder what that world looks for for these guys. Have they all survived? Are they back together? And better yet, who's their new intern!? I think there is a lot of story left to tell for these not-quite-heroes. They made a promise to keep coming for ghosts and spirits, and I want to see that delivered. Also, I want to nominate Madison Chandler as the new intern. Canines can sense energies; he would be the perfect addition to help sniff out (no pun intended) whatever they are investigating.

Ash (Chad Lindberg). Come on, who doesn't miss the mullet? Dr. Badass hasn't been "in" in a long time, and that's unfortunate because he had a truly unique sense of humor. And style. But more than that, he was an integral part to Sam and Dean's demon-tracking. Without him, they'd still be neck-deep in research about Yellow Eyes! I always felt there was a chance he wasn't actually in Harvelle's Roadhouse when it exploded...until we saw him in heaven in a later episode. But hey, the show pulls people down (or up) all of the time. What's to say an angel won't need help of the technological kind sometime and call upon the master? I can only hope...

Missouri (Loretta Devine). A long-time family friend and actual psychic, she was one of the best matches for the "we think we know it all and want to do it our way" brothers. She matched wits with them well, kept them in line, and had a lot to offer when it came to tracking and confronting spirits. Plus, let's face it, there's never not a good time to integrate the cast with some strong, non-demonic, female characters.

Who would you want to see return??

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From LA Examiner: NBC's Three-Hour Comedy Block Previews, Plus FX' Comedic Spy Stylings of 'Archer' To Return...

Community (and Malcolm Jamal Warner)'s return to Thursdays at 8"

The last time LA TV Insider Examiner got to chat with Yvette Nicole Brown from Community, she was making her pitch for who she wanted to play her on-screen family, should that moment ever present itself. For the record, she name-checked Sherri Shepherd, Craig Robinson, and Malcolm Jamal Warner, and wouldn’t you know it? Only a few months later, one has already made it onto the show! Warner will be appearing in the brand new episode of Community airing tonight, “Asian Population Studies,” as Andre, Shirley’s ex-husband... [MORE]

"Ron Swanson unleashes his pyramid of greatness on Parks and Recreation TONIGHT"

Who knew that in an ensemble comedy filled with performers who are loud and at times abrasive, the one who would stand out the most, and cause the most fan reaction, would be the quiet, dry, subtle one—the one who just wants to blend in so he doesn’t have to actually get any work done? But Ron Swanson, aka Nick Offerman, and his mustache really has become legendary in his own right. LA TV Insider Examiner managed to steal a few minutes with Offerman on the set of Parks and Recreation in Los Angeles last week in order to talk about the evolution of the soon-to-be iconic character and how much fun he’s having portraying him... [MORE]

"David Walton is half of two very special Perfect Couples"

If you blinked, you probably missed David Walton’s last NBC sitcom, 100 Questions, but he is certainly hopeful that won't be the case with his new one, Perfect Couples, which is sandwiched in the three-hour Thursday comedy night the peacock network is beginning tonight... [MORE]

"Archer season two turns up the wit and may just mature a bit"

LA TV Insider Examiner doesn’t usually report on animated programs. It’s not that we don’t enjoy them, but just like with reality television, there are specific Examiners designated to cover those types of shows, and we don’t like to step on anyone’s toes. However, the return of Archer on FX is just too good for us to ignore! ... [MORE]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

From LA Examiner: Betty White's Reign Continues; PaleyFest Panels Announced; Jason George's Personality Pops; 'Face Off' Demonstration in LA...

"On the Hot in Cleveland set with Betty White"

Betty White is eighty-eight years old and working harder than ever. Not only has she committed to a full second season of TV Land’s breakout hit original sitcom, Hot In Cleveland, but she is also working on two new books simultaneously. It makes LA TV Insider Examiner exhausted just thinking about it and we’re…well, we’re not eighty-eight! ... [MORE]

The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles has announced their lineup for their annual PaleyFest festival event. Once again taking place at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, the two weeks of fan favorite and acclaimed programming panels will begin on March 4th and continue through the 18th. The theatre features 1900 seats, but many of these panels are expected to sell out—and immediately—so you won’t want to wait to claim your seats... [MORE]

There was a time in Jason George (Off The Map)’s life when he was headed for law school. That’s right, the veteran Shonda Rhimes star who got his start in soaps originally planned to work for a Supreme Court Justice that he knew in Virginia. The plan was to go to school and work hard, and go straight to work for that guy, but plans with such well-meaning intentions tend to go awry. For George, that happened when he took his first acting class while enrolled in undergraduate classes. He jokes now that it all went downhill from there, but with a new drama on ABC, we think he’s more than doing okay! ... [MORE]

"Syfy to demonstrate the art of Face Off in Los Angeles"

Syfy’s Face Off, a new competition reality series that will showcase the artistry of special FX make-up, exploring the world of these pros and the unlimited imagination which allows them to create amazing works of living art, will be doing a live demonstration at the Grove in Los Angeles at this time tomorrow! ... [MORE]

Woof Wednesday #89...

The morning-after the Life Unexpected finale. Madison is still in mourning. And I am probably never getting my sweatshirt back; it's his blanket now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Life Unexpected': We're All A Little Bit Broken on the Inside...And It's Beautiful...

On the eve of the show's finale, I hope you will all join me in raising a glass to the Baziles, the Cassidys, and the amazing creative team behind the beautiful story-telling on Life Unexpected.

You all know how I feel about this show. During my final interview with Liz Tigelaar about the series, she thanked me for all of the kind reviews I gave over the show's year-long, two-season run, but it was she that really deserved the thanks. She gave me a show that I responded to on an emotional, guttural level, and that isn't something that happens every day. It's an understatement to say, but tonight's finale was extremely bittersweet and just as emotional.

Instead of Tweeting through the episode has I have been known to do, I did the opposite and fell social media silent so I could fully process. But I really don't pretend to believe I've fully processed. Like I said, it was an emotional night.

I love Lux. I don't care what recent criticisms have said about her lying and her behavior and her treatment of the ones who have been there for her. I understand her; I think in many ways, I was her when I was younger. Not exactly but almost, and enough to root for her to succeed through it all. I know how hard it is to finally believe you're going to be okay, even when those around you tell you it will be so. Words are futile, and when the majority of the actions have proven the opposite, well, you only know what you see. For me, the biggest deal was seeing Lux finally relax into her family, but it was something that had to happen when she would be realistically ready-- not just on TV time.

I loved how Lux was able to recognize that the truth will always come out when it was Emma in the hot seat but completely in denial when it came to herself. That is something so typical of teenagers I just wanted to grab her and say 'See? You ARE a normal girl now!' But more than that, I loved Lux and Eric in "Teacher Schooled." I loved that they acknowledged to each other what they were feeling; I loved Lux's attempt at domestication (it really reminded me of Rory's similar attempt for Dean in Gilmore Girls); I loved that he finally stopped leading her on, even if it was through another half-assed, have-someone-else-make-the-decision-for-me, wishy-washy way; I loved that we saw Lux exposed, with all of her flaws, and it crept to the "who the hell cares anymore" crescendo. I even loved that neither of them tried to smooth things over with Cate and Baze by pointing out they hadn't slept together; at least they were both mature enough to know that kind of grasping at straws never helps matters.

I also loved maternal Cate. She really grew into her role as time went on, although most notably and prominently because of her hormones. She was acting out of instinct now, and that was what was working. But more than that, I loved that for the first time we saw Cate and Lux act like a real mother and daughter duo. Each one thought they knew what was best for Lux, and each one had more than her share of commentary on the decisions of the other, but as in life, each one was still a bit blinded and therefore thwarted by bias.

And that was all just in the first hour!

"Affair Remembered" could have been about the truth about Lux and Eric, or the truth about Emma and Jack, but that would be too obvious, wouldn't it?? Reintroducing Julia into the mix, at quite literally the eleventh hour was just pure genius-- and maybe a little evil-- on Tigelaar's part. I'm sure many of you are still reeling from that discovery, but I would, however, just like to point out that way back when I interviewed Jamie Ray Newman in October of 2010, she mentioned she was going to be in a second episode before the thirteenth of the season (which turned out to be the finale). When she said it and then did not emerge-- when Cate found out she was pregnant or around the Thanksgiving table-- I thought perhaps there was a chance plans changed in order to wrap up story lines faster and happier. But then I saw a photo from the wrap party about a month and a half after our chat that seemed to say otherwise. And last week when I spoke to Tigelaar about whether or not she decided not to bring back certain characters, in order to give her core three (or four, depending on how invested you are in Ryan) their satisfying ending, she said that she didn't. Little things were tweaked along the way, most notably in Cate's character, Tigelaar shared, but ultimately she kept the same throughline and character arcs. And for that I am glad. Julia was always an interesting character to me, and not just because I was Team Baze from the pilot.

But by bringing her back, Tigelaar really forced her characters to put their money where their mouths were. They talked a good game about choosing each other, not being "stuck" with each other, but when push came to shove, they all stepped up. They all maned up. The show may not have made it as far as I would have liked, but the characters each took exponential strides, and when being done in such a short amount of time it is that much more special.

I usually don't like finales that end in a way to show it was all just a dream or jump around in time; I usually consider it a cop-out way to rush everyone toward an end. But unfortunately here, in order for these characters to finally get the happiness they have worked so hard for, there really wasn't another way. The season had taken such a divergence with the introduction of as many new characters as there were throughout the whole first season and even (or especially) as a writer myself, I couldn't imagine how to tie up all the loose ends and still give everyone (fans and characters alike) what they wanted, and what they needed. So kudos, Tigelaar, especially for managing to squeeze Alice back in. We missed her. Almost as much as Cate did!

I don't pretend to believe that everything is picture-perfect now for Lux or many of the others in the family. She spent her whole life feeling different, feeling screwed up, feeling broken, and I'm not sure that's a feeling that ever fully dissipates. I think Cate is proof that no matter how far you go in life, your own insecurities can creep up on you at the most inopportune times and penetrate your so-called "new" life. Cate and Lux are like two sides to the same coin: they self-destructively flip back and forth between which one is the child and which is the adult. It's a tough cross to bear, and it's not something that can ever be entirely forgotten, no matter how many times someone may tell you that you are good enough, but at least now they have each other.

And Baze. Baze, who finally did the mature thing, not just for his kid but for himself. So much of season two had been about Baze coming into his own, but the final two episodes pulled the focus back on Lux so she could have her own chance to grow up, get the closure on her old life that she needed, and realize she isn't so alone after all. But of course the finale couldn't close out without Baze breaking my heart one last time. And you know what? I'm totally okay with him keeping the pieces.

It was an absolute pleasure to get to write about Life Unexpected week after week and to get to know some very sweet, very passionate people in the process. I only write about shows I enjoy so that I shed light on ones I feel worthy of promotion; I prefer to build a show up rather than tear one down. After all, I know how much blood, sweat, tears, time, and soul goes into the production. Life Unexpected is the first show that I didn't work on directly that treated me as if I did-- maybe even better than some of the ones on which I did. I am going to miss hearing the behind-the-scenes stories and seeing all of the on-set photos and FlipCam videos. The cast and crew were extremely gracious in sharing those-- more than any other has ever really been, and more than they ever had to be-- and I eagerly await whatever they move onto next. There will never be another Life Unexpected, but that is something to be celebrated, not saddened by. The series and its characters' uniqueness can never be duplicated, and for that, it was most certainly a job well done. I hope Tigelaar and Co celebrated hard while screening; they more than deserve it!

PS Baze? It's not just "little dudes" that love you!

From LA Examiner: Interview with the Vampire from 'Being Human', the Creators of 'Life Unexpected' and 'The Good Wife', and An Oprah Protege...

Syfy’s version of Being Human just premiered last night, and it gave a taste at what’s to come for the characters who might have some supernatural abilities but also have some very real problems. LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with Sam Witwer, the brooding vampire Aidan who gives into temptation nearly immediately in the premiere, despite making claims that he wants to live a normal life, to ask him what we can expect from the future episodes for the show and for his character... [MORE]

Tonight’s the night! Yes, it is a nice of smiles, of tears, of warm hearts, and of good friends-- both real and reel. It is the night Life Unexpected airs its two-hour finale event on The CW... [MORE]

The second season of The Good Wife is something of a marathon for showrunners Robert and Michelle King. With twenty-three episodes in total, they have a lot of ground to cover, both across the legal profession with interesting cases and with the personal lives of Alicia Florek (Julianna Margulies) and her family and co-workers. Everyone knows the key to surviving a marathon is endurance; if you sprint out of the gate you may lose steam pretty easily. But somehow The Good Wife has managed to defy those odds, coming hard every week with dramatic stakes and a unique perspective... [MORE]

"Ryan O'Connor's "Oprah journey" will hopefully allow him to save pop culture"

"Pop culture is in a state of emergency!" That is what Your OWN Show: Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star finalist Ryan O'Connor declared to LA TV Insider Examiner during a phone interview earlier today. And don't we know it?? But don't worry; O'Connor has plans to rectify that, with a little help from his new pal Oprah Winfrey... [MORE]