Category Archives: reality tv

Idol’s Last Hurrah

Even with Syria the top story in the news (and no, I still won’t be writing about it), today was a relatively slow news day, and still keeping a low profile amidst the lack of news was the final announcement of the judges on the upcoming thirteenth season of “American Idol.”

To make it official, Ryan Seacrest will continue to host the Fox series, and along with returning judges from last season, Randy Jackson and Keith Urban, he will be joined by the returning Jennifer Lopez from season ten, and longtime “AI” friend and fan Harry Connick, Jr. So no Dr. Luke as rumored, no Mariah Carey, and saddest of all, for me at least, no Nicki Minaj.

Without Simon Cowell, the show lost most of its punch and charisma as far as I was concerned, and Nicki Minaj made it worth watching for me. Even the contestants were bland last season, Idol’s lowest rated season ever, and Nicki made it entertaining for me, and really she was the only reason to watch. With the new/old crew set for season thirteen, I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling it, and I might not be watching.

The Big Brother Racists

I haven’t really talked about “Big Brother” this year, mostly because I’ve been bored by it. There was no one I liked, no one I wanted to root for. They even included Rachel’s sister in the cast this season. One would think, as a Rachel fan, I’d be excited, but no. Please take this the wrong way, but her sister, Elissa, is just Rachel with all the charisma and sexiness removed. And her personality consists of just her being Rachel’s sister. Yawn.

There is even a new twist with the eviction process, an added candidate, but none of it was really enough to catch my attention. It really comes down to cast. Cast someone I’ll want to like, not a bunch of bland rejects from “90120” auditions. No one here clicked for me.

Then something happened, something both exciting, and fully explaining why I didn’t like anyone. There wasn’t anyone to like, except for a couple racists, whom are just built for the audience to hate. Trouble is, we haven’t been privy to their hate until just recently. Now CBS has opened the doors to reveal these imbeciles to the world.

Houseguests Aaryn, and to a lesser extent, Ginamarie, have been showing their ‘true colors’ as they have made serious anti-Asian, anti-black, and anti-gay remarks about their fellow houseguests. Really? A twenty-two year old with views like this? I am shocked in this day and age. Are there really monsters like this still walking around in America? Thank the gods she has lost her job while in the house. At least someone is clear thinking.

Now I have a reason to watch “Big Brother” this season, and someone very specific to root against, boo, hiss, and wish misfortunes upon. Don’t cry, Aaryn, maybe the neo-Nazis are looking for a new cover girl…

I cannot wait for Aaryn’s exit interview …with Julie…

Hoax Hunters

Folks who know me personally know I’m addicted to Coast to Coast AM late nights. They cover lots of different topics on the show, now hosted by George Noory, but the nights that I love are the ones about UFOs, cryptozoology, and conspiracy theories. Yeah, I’m a nut for that stuff. Add in that I grew up in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey, where nobody jokes about the Jersey Devil when they’re outside at night – you know I’m a sucker for the new Hoax Hunters comic from Image.

Writers Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley have created quite a phenomenon with Hoax Hunters. It’s everything I could want, it’s Coast to Coast AM mixed with “X-Files” in comic book form. Described as “Cryptids. Aliens. Monsters. All the world’s bizarre secrets–what if they were real? Their existence would be debunked by a reality TV show! HOAX HUNTERS is that show, publicly disproving all variety of lore. But their real goal is the opposite: as the world’s dark corners surface, the HOAX HUNTERS cover them up. They demonstrate that the truth isn’t out there.” Again, what more could I want? The creators have even promised a Jersey Devil appearance in the future.

There are two issues of new material out now, plus a ‘zero issue’ that collects the stories that first appeared as back-up in Hack/Slash #1-10. Get out to your local comics shop now and check them out! This comic rocks!

Hoax Hunters has a website and blog that you visit here. And don’t forget to check out this episode of the Biff Bam Popcast featuring Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley!

How CBS Is Ruining Big Brother

Since the first season of “Big Brother” viewers in the United States have not really been watching the real “Big Brother.” American audiences were not receptive, read as low ratings, to the format that had been so successful everywhere else in the world, so US producers made up their own rules. It’s become a unique entity, and that’s not even getting into oddities like US censorship, editing, and limited viewing or prerecorded broadcasts. “Big Brother” US is its own thing, and it’s killing it.

I could get into how incestuous it’s become. The only excitement seems to come from having old houseguests return, or having them transplant from and to other CBS reality TV programs. New viewers tend to be turned off by all of this internal continuity faster than a newbie reading an X-Men comic.

There is also the censorship issue. If CBS doesn’t want you to see something, and it doesn’t happen in the seemingly regulated Showtime late night hours, or you’re not subscribed to the paid feed (and even then sometimes), you’re just not going to see it. Like the rumors of houseguest Chima threatening to take a dump on the bed – the real ratings-getters never make the grade.

The most infuriating way CBS is ruining “Big Brother” is with their Big Brother Network email subscription service. They apparently don’t understand the simply concepts of subject lines, and most importantly, spoilers. I tend to watch my television on DVR, hours, sometimes days later than the original broadcast. More times than I want to admit, I have gotten an email from the BBN with “So-And-So Evicted” in the subject heading. Wtf??

You better straighten up, CBS, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be hanging around the Big Brother House.

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 5-30-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Allison Eckel, and Glenn Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here! The much-missed Ed Evans will be back in a couple weeks.

Discussion featured in this special episode includes: The week in Marvel including Mutants, Avengers, and Hulks, Ravagers #1, Batman Beyond Unlimited #4, Batman Annual #1, America’s Got Powers #2, Supercrooks #3, other indies, Star Trek meets Doctor Who, Powers #10, the Zenescope offerings of the week, Allison’s kids comics including Superman Family Adventures #1, and the trades of the week including Batman Death By Design by Chip Kidd.

Be sure to check out the swell new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, and runs the show from behind the scenes, even when she’s on vacation.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

French Fry Diary 363: Checkers Undercover

The Three Stooges 2012

The Three Stooges ~ I love the Three Stooges. I grew up on the Three Stooges. Everybody loved the Stooges when I was a kid. We would all race home from school to see the shorts on local channel 29. We all loved them, and being a guy (it does seem to be a gender thing), I loved them a lot. And unfortunately I was also a casualty when parents groups shut them down in the early 1970s.

Like most kids, I was aware of the difference between fantasy and reality, and knew you didn’t try any of that stuff the Stooges do on TV. Unfortunately those nosy parents who always seem to have too much time on their hands first had the wonderful shorts of the Stooges edited down to almost nothing by taking out the perceived violence (and essentially the humor too), and then by removing them from the air completely. You bastards, you took my Stooges away.

Let’s face it, the 1970s was a very bad time for kids television. Parents had a lot of time apparently to ruin it for kids. They took our superheroes away, our Warner Bros. cartoons, our Little Rascals, and our Three Stooges. These were all too ‘violent.’ Heck, we knew the difference. And from then on, children’s television had to watered down, have a message at the end, be educational, and conflict had to be solved through thoughtful discussion rather than Batman punching the Joker, or Moe poking Larry. I’m still not sure about Larry, but trust me, the Joker needed a punch.

Fortunately the video age saved us all, or at least the Three Stooges from this terrible time. On video, we could see the shorts in their original form, uncut and unedited, and we could see what geniuses the Stooges truly were. Today, several cable networks show the shorts on a regular basis, and the Stooges are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. And perhaps that is what has spawned this new movie, The Three Stooges.

When I first heard of the Farrelly brothers making a new Three Stooges movie I have to admit I cringed. These are the guys responsible for such masterpieces as Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary among others. Not that their work is bad, but even when it’s good, there is always some quantity of potty humor and slob comedy. Humor for ten year olds is what it is, and although I don’t want to think it – it’s the perfect team to return the Stooges to the big screen.

When I first saw the trailer, I was iffy, and as a Stooge fan, I was extremely wary. I am here today to say I have seen the film, and wow, I had no reason to worry, as a matter of fact, it was one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time. I laughed until there were tears in my eyes. Yeah, baby, it’s that good.

The movie follows the boys from childhood into a Blues Brothers like plot of trying to raise money for their orphanage, and it’s done in three episodic segments stylized like the shorts of old. The new Stooges do wonderful jobs of imitation and homage. Many of the stunts, the effects, and even the gags are directly from the old shorts and done with respect and humor. The first two segments are flawless Stooges extended shorts. The third segment does move into French farce as well as slapstick, but that’s okay, I still dug it.

The nearly unrecognizable Sean Hayes as Larry, television veteran Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe (I’ll never be able to watch “24” with a straight face again, and Will Sasso from “Mad TV” as Curly are all stellar morons in the best sense possible. Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson and the cast of “Jersey Shore” are all terrific but for me, the movie is stolen by Larry David every time he appears on screen as Sister Mary-Mengele.

Yeah, I loved this, more than I should have, and more than I ever would have believed either. The only thing that brought it done was during the end credits when the Farrelly brothers appear on screen to show how stunts were done and to tell kids not to try this at home. It may have been done tongue in cheek, but it brought that original 1970s bad taste back into my mouth. Stupid parents groups. Leave the Stooges, any Stooges alone. Still, this newest edition of the Three Stooges is highly recommended, bring the kids, be prepared for a little potty humor, but mostly Stooges goodness.

Bookmark and Share

Comic Book Men

AMC wanted to cash in on “The Walking Dead” so bad that I guess they accepted any show about comic books. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a hardcore Kevin Smith fan, but “Comic Book Men” is, on many levels, a disappointment.

Unless Kevin Smith himself doesn’t know what he wants this show to be, it seems to be suffering from a lot of outside, or possibly even inside interference. It’s all over the place. Sometimes it wants to be a reality show, sometimes a bad imitation of “Hardcore Pawn” and other shows of its ilk, sometimes an extension of Smith himself, sometimes a podcast on video, and sometimes just an outright commercial for the Secret Stash store, Smith, and/or AMC. Could they really get any more Smith or Walking Dead merch in the camera frames?

Having frequented comic book shops all my life, I can tell you, that except for the guy who doesn’t work there and never leaves, this is sooo not like a comic book shop. They did however have to clean up the Secret Stash, which was a relief. I’ve been there, they cleaned, believe me. The occasion of folks coming in wanting sell stuff doesn’t happen all that often, neither do hockey games, or sadly women in the shops. And of course that’s the other thing that bugs me about it, the supposedly unscripted employees are more than a little sexist – perhaps they should be scripted.

Maybe they could focus on the buying comics from customers concept, or the roundtable podcast concept, or just make it Kevin Smith-centric – I really enjoyed the Jason Mewes/Batmobile episode. Maybe it could be cut down to a half-hour, but it must focus, and pick a direction. Sadly the one thing I enjoy about visiting a comics shop, talking comics, has only been featured once, and they mocked it. To me that’s what the show should be about, sans ridicule. If you’re fanboys (and girls), embrace it!

Right now, we’re three episodes into a six-episode run. I hope it gets better, and finds its center. It would be nice to have a geek home on television, especially smack between “The Walking Dead” and “Talking Dead.”

Bookmark and Share

Jeff Conaway 1950-2011

Actor Jeff Conaway passed away today after doctors took him off of life support. The actor was in a medically-induced coma after suffering from an overdose of painkillers. This was after a long battle with drug abuse, much of which occurred in front of the world via reality television, as Dr. Drew tried to help Conaway on several of his rehab TV series. It seems a shame both that he had not only this problem, but also that a whole generation probably only knows him as that wrecked old drug addict on TV.

Jeff Conaway had a long career before crashing and burning, he was on television and film, and was prolific with both. He played Kenickie in Grease, and was a member of the long-running ensemble sitcom “Taxi,” until eventually being fired for drug use, a specter that haunted him even then. I remember also in Disney’s Pete’s Dragon and even though I never watched it, I know he was also a regular on “Babylon 5.”

What I remember Jeff Conaway most for, and while this marks me for not being with the Grease or “Taxi” or even rehab crowds, it cements my nerd cred. I remember him in “Wizards and Warriors.” This high adventure/subtle comedy TV series, mostly directed by Bill Bixby, was CBS’ way of cashing in on the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy demographic. It soon became evident that those folks didn’t watch prime time TV, or at least that show, and it was canceled after just a handful of episodes. I still dug Conaway as the square-jawed hero. playing it straight and standing above. Would love to see that on DVD someday.

No matter how you remember Jeff Conaway, he will be missed, and remembered.

Bookmark and Share

Quickies 9-15-2010

Drag Me To Hell ~ A young loan officer arbitrarily refuses to extend an old gypsy woman’s mortgage and is cursed, hilarity ensues, as they say. As the lamia, a goat-like demon from Hell, pursues the young woman, she tries desperately to break the curse. This is a fairly scary new entry from writer/director Sam Raimi finally getting back to his horror roots. Except for the casting of Justin Long and a couple painfully cartoony moments, this is an excellent scare-fest, worth seeing, but keep the lights on.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ~ The first filmed part of the Millenium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson is much more streamlined and exciting than its literary counterpart, no slow or dense parts like the book. Good mystery, good action, well cast with great soundtrack – recommended. It’s so perfect, I am almost dreading the American version coming next year.

Nanny McPhee Returns ~ Also known as Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang overseas, this family film sequel, based on the Nurse Matilda books by Christianna Brand, is a bit formulaic, but still a lot of fun.

Jennifer’s Body ~ Taken as a black comedy, this one is actually rather good. It has a very Kevin Williamson tongue-in-cheek feel to it, but is actually written by the infamous Diablo Cody, who brings her own unique sensibility to it. Quirky and more real than a lot of horror of this kind, this was a lot better than I thought it would be. Check it out.

61* ~ I’m not a big baseball fan, and I’m even less of a Billy Crystal fan, so I was surprised I liked this baseball flick directed by Crystal. The HBO movie recounts the summer of 1961 as Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle both strive to break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record. Thomas Jane is terrific as Mantle. Recommended.

Komodo Vs. Cobra ~ This low budget SyFy special features bad writing, bad CGI effects and bad acting that would make porn actors blush. It stars, along with badly realized giant reptiles, Michael Pare from the decades ago Eddie and the Cruisers and reality TV star Jerry Manthey from “Survivor” who seems to want to prove she’s a better actress without a script. Miss this one.

Bookmark and Share