New Blog Feature!

I’ve noticed that it’s been more and more difficult for me to find the time, energy, and enthusiasm to recap lately. It’s started to feel like more of a chore than a fun hobby. Which sucks for me, but also makes my writing worse and means that I put off writing, editing, and posting. There are drafts of recaps that I’ve put together from months ago, that I still haven’t posted.

So my inability to get a quick-enough turn around is one of the reasons I’m going to retire recapping. For now at least.  I rest happy in the knowledge that there are numerous recappers who can, and do, make that turn-around and do it better than me. The other part is that fewer and fewer people are writing for, and visiting OCTV. Which is a cyclical problem, because we stop putting up content in a regular, timely manner, so people stop checking. It makes sense, but I’m frustrated, and I want writing about, and thinking about TV to be fun again, so I’m going to do this instead!

This is going to be a (hopefully) regular feature called Television Tuesdays where I take a break to talk about tv. Maybe it’ll be about a show I’ve been marathoning recently. It could be a list of  of shows I’ve watched. Maybe I’ll find a theme that’s common across a bunch of shows I’ve been watching and I write about it. Who knows?

The important thing is, I’m excited about it. I’m excited to not feel beholden to writing detailed posts that sometimes feel like they’re just a poor regurgitation of the show you just watched.

Tomorrow’s the inaugural post. I’ll be talking about Agent Carter. Get excited.

Advertisements

Hot Humid American Summer

I finished with classes, exams, my school year a month ago. As of May 7th at approximately 1:40pm I became a senior at the George Washington University. Let’s just give that a second to sink in, shall we? A senior. A fourth year student at a university of higher education. I’m so close to graduating I’m already cringing. I’m not ready to leave yet. It took going abroad and coming back to find my place here, school. Don’t make me leave so soon!

Okay, sorry. It’s just freaking me out a bit. I know that I’ve got a whole year left in this great place with these wonderful people, but damn. That’ll just go by in the blink of an eye, won’t it? So, in the meantime, I’m going to work on focusing on the present. I’m pretty terrible at that, if you’ve read any of my posts, like, ever. I tend to plan for months, years in the future, not the now. Oh, well. Instead of prematurely freaking out about graduation and caps and gowns and employment, I’m trying to think of what I’ll be doing this summer to keep me grounded. I’ve made a list, you see.

First off, I’ve just started working on a new story. No, I haven’t finished any of my old ones yet. I know, I know, I’m working on it. (Kind of.) But for the first time, ever, I have an outline, plot, characters, the whole shebang. If you couldn’t tell, I’m kind of proud of myself. I’m going to try and write a thousand words a day. I don’t think I’ll live up to that goal, but I’m going to try.

Next up, I plan on reading a lot this summer. A lot a lot. I’m still working at the law library, so I’ve got tons of time to kill. Here’s my go-to list:

  • Brave New World (I’ve only got about fifty pages left.)
  • Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (All books combined into one nice little Kindle package. I’m a little over half-way through.)
  • The Bell Jar
  • On the Road
  • Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Jane Eyre
  • Franny & Zooey

I also have a lot of shows to watch. Aside from recapping Newsroom over at Off Color TV I’ve got a lot on my lists. After catching up on the rest of this season’s shows (Once Upon a Time, HIMYM, Hart of Dixie, Castle, 30 Rock and Fringe) I plan on watching these for the first time:

  • Dance Academy. I’ve got about 10 episodes left in  this addictive little Australian show about teenagers at a ballet school.
  • Arrested Development
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Battle Star Galactica
  • Daria
  • Awkward.

Keep in mind I’ll be in the city all summer, so I can also distract myself with free concerts at the Kennedy Center and the Sculpture Garden. The pool is open on the auxiliary campus and is free for students. Almost all of my friends are here for some/all of the summer so I’m sure I’ll have a full schedule. At least I hope so.

Since I don’t post here on the reg (I’m going to try and amend that, no promises), you can follow me on Twitter @MollytheGhost where I am almost always available to talk about TV, my boredom, and other weird stuff. I also got a Tumblr recently, so you can see a ton of reblogged crap over there. (Please follow me? I don’t know how to cultivate tumblr followers, so that would be swell!)

Feel free to leave me with tons of suggestions as to what books/shows/movies I should try out next. I’d love to hear it.

The League: Forever Unclean

Episode 3×4: I will graciously admit that I procrastinated the hell out of writing this post. I just had no desire to sit down and recap an episode called “Ol’ Smoke Crotch”. Because, for as much as I enjoy The League, sometimes I doubt my sanity. It’s just so gross. Why am I laughing at that disgusting joke? Nothing was funny about it, ya know. But, whatever. Watch it, I do. Thus I must put my nose to the grindstone and recap this monstrosity of a show. Voluntarily.

Four episodes into the season and I can’t help but wonder when we’ll get more than one line a week about football on this show. The only football related tidbit of information this week was that Carson Palmer is thinking about retiring. So there you go.

The first thing we learn this episode is that Ruxin probably won’t be winning any “Father of the Year” awards in the near future for his treatment towards Baby Geoffrey. He lets the toddler throw food around the fancy restaurant before letting the kid eat ice out of a urinal. On a related note, why do we insist on calling him “baby Geoffrey?” Will not Geoffrey, or simply Geoff, suffice? It did for the Fresh Prince’s butler (What up, G?). That toddler is seriously “forever unclean” after the whole “water biscuits” thing but it’s still on par, grossness wise, with Kevin & Jenny’s daughter playing with their dog’s poop last season, so whatever.

Ruxin’s having a rough time being a parent with his wife out of town and Pete dating his au pair. She’s causing all kinds of problems for Ruxin, beginning with walking in on him trying to get a pee stain out of his pants (alas, he didn’t utilize Taco’s “pee bib”). She takes this embarrassing information in stride and decides to hold it over his head, using his house as her personal playground and slacking off from her nanny-ing duties. Because of her leverage, he can’t fire her so he tries to get her to quit, going so far as to allow his brother-in-law, Rafi, to move in. Rafi is so disgusting he’s basically a parody of himself. In the end, the joke is on both Ruxin and Pete, because the au pair likes Rafi, quits her job and moves into Rafi’s room, still living under Ruxin’s roof.

The other plot of the episode revolved around Kevin, who is freaking out because he found a grey hair. It instigates a terrible bout of vanity. He goes so far as to accept a spa visit with Andre. Kevin becomes so self-conscious about his greying hairs that he attempts to dye them. Things go awry when he attempts to dry the dye with Jenny’s blow dryer and he ends up setting himself on fire in the nether regions, for that’s where his grey hairs were. Clearly it’s not a good week to be Kevin. The fire gets put out, but only after Andre accidentally bashes Kevin over the head with a glass of water.

Also of note, Kevin didn’t know that he had red hair. To be fair, I didn’t either.

Halloween: Best Episodes

It’s almost Halloween and what better way  to celebrate than by indulging in some of the very best Halloween episodes TV has to offer? Don’t know where to start? Here are some of my personal favorites from over the years:

Parks & Recreation “Greg Pikitis”: This episode is the one that really solidified my love for the show. It had it all: costumes; a party; April and her gay boyfriend (and his boyfriend); the first appearance of Andy’s alter-ego Burt Macklin, FBI; and a guest appearance by Louis CK. Plot-wise, Ann throws a terrible Halloween party that Tom helps save. Across town, Leslie is busy dealing with her arch-nemisis, teenager Greg Pikitis, whom she is sure will end the night vandalizing the statue of Pawenee’s mayor as he does it every Halloween.

 

Castle “Vampire Weekend”: First off, this episode is named after a great band. Second, a guy ends up staked in a graveyard and Castle makes a Buffy reference. Werewolves also come into play.  Third, everyone dresses up like a character they have formerly portrayed and it is wonderful: Ryan is in scrubs a la his stint on General Hospital and Esposito is in fatigues like his character from the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. Saving the best for last, Castle dresses up like Mal Reynolds from Firefly. Check him out:

 

Community “Epidemiology”: A super-contagious virus spreads across the Greendale campus, temporarily turning the student body into zombies. Boom: genre satire. Also featuring an Abba soundtrack, a shirtless Donald Glover, and some Shirley/Chang sex.

First season Community episode “Introduction to Statistics” gets an honorable mention solely based on Danny Pudi’s Batman voice and Troy’s fear of eating himself were he to wake up as a donut.

Boy Meets World “And then There Was Shawn”: Despite airing in late February, this is actually a Halloween episode. It was the first parody I can remember seeing, ripping off thrillers like Scream, and I Know What You Did Last Summer amongst others. I still remember it as the scariest thing I had ever seen on TV.

 

Freaks & Geeks “Tricks & Treats”: Lindsay goes out with the Freaks while Sam goes trick-or-treating with the Geeks.

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Halloween”: A classic tale: kids dress up for Halloween and get cursed into turning into their Halloween costume. Xander becomes a soldier, Willow a ghost, and Buffy an helpless 18th century noble.

Have a favorite Halloween episode that I haven’t seen or didn’t mention? Leave me a suggestion in the comments.

The League: In Which “Vulture” is a Verb

Episode 3×3:

Let’s just go ahead and assume that anything Taco-produced is wonderful in the way that it’s actually terrible. It’s so bad, it’s good. We start off the episode with Andre’s “I’m a Man”-themed video. Since Taco directed it, there are “subliminal messages” (animals copulating) that aren’t quite subliminal. Why does Andre need a man-themed self-aggrandizing advert you might ask? Because he’s turning to the internet to find potential dates. “Online dating services: where those who society has outcast get together and ideally colonize another planet.”

Meanwhile, Ruxin wants to hire a au pair since he failed so epically at getting baby Geoffry into a Jewish preschool. His justification for hiring an attractive au pair is so that his son can grow up used to being surrounded by hot girls.

Over at Plot Contrivance Central (Jenny’s Regional Real Estate Conference), Kevin and Taco spot ESPN “Fantasy Football expert,” Matthew Berry. Kevin dubs him the “prettiest girl in the bar” and tries too woo some football tips out of him. This is not unprecedented. Last season Kevin called Terry Bradshaw for advice. After a lot of flailing and floundering, Taco helps him out, getting Matthew’s card out of the deal.

Kevin is very excited about his potential relationship with Matthew Berry but doesn’t want to tell his wife Jenny. Really, though, I don’t see why he can’t come clean with her. She already knows he’s crap at fantasy football. The only seasons he even came close to the playoffs were when she was still covertly co-managing his team. Regardless, he doesn’t want to tell her. So, despite the fact that he’s a lawyer, Kevin can’t lie so he solicits Ruxin for some help. A couple of montages later and Kevin’s stuttering, “What? No!”s are turned into glib fibs.

The overarching theme of the episode which runs parallel to most of the plots is about vulturing. First, Pete’s fantasy football player vultures one of Andre’s player’s points. Pete deems it karma since Andre screwed Pete out of the 8-man mega-trade during the Sukkoth Pact 2011 last week. To rub salt in the wound, Pete later vultures one of Andre’s online dates. A couple of days later, when Andre and Kevin show up at the bar for their respective dates, Andre mistakenly believes that Mathew Berry is vulturing his date. She’s actually asking to be set up because Andre is a capital-C Creep. He proves this by picking a fight with unassuming Matthew Berry, coming on too strong, ultimately punching Kevin despite aiming for Matthew. Andre ruins both his and Kevin’s dates before they could even start.

Pete seems to be on fire this week, ending the episode by vulturing baby Geoffrey’s hot au pair.

That’s all for this week. Check back soon for next week’s recap. What did you think of the Au Pair. Hit the comments and let me know.

 

The League: In Which there were fewer NFL references than Hart of Dixie

Episode 3×2:  This week on The League we learn that everyone’s draft experience sucked. Ultimately, Pete works out a multi-man trade, encouraging trust between league members. He beautifully engineers an 8-man trade on a white board which Andre notes is ”like a useless Good Will Hunting.” Everyone agrees to the Sukkoth Pact 2011, the deadline for the trade being the start of the Sukkoth ceremony. The trade goes through for everyone except Pete whom Andre screwed over in a fit of jealousy.

The main story focuses on Ruxin and his quest to get his son, Geoffrey, into a Jewish pre-school. To woo the school board, he holds a Sukkoth celebration (aka Jewish Bonnarroo) at Kevin and Jenny’s house.  Because it’s 2006, Ruxin sends out e-vites to all of the potential Sukkoth guests. He immediately retracts them because the attached Google-Maps picture of his house features himself spray-painting a swastika on the pothole in front of his driveway. It’s not (just) that he’s a self-hating Jew, but in their neighborhood of Chicago, racist graffiti gets taken care of lickity-split; he hoped the workers would notice the pothole and fix it as well.

At the event-proper, the final version of the porno is unveiled. The video plays on a big-screen TV affixed to the garage. Drawn to the commotion, everyone leaves the Sukkah that Taco, Ellie, and Ruxin built as part of a Hebrew Habitat for Humanity and see the film. Andre is, in turn, nauseated and pissed. The school administrator is disgusted bans Geoffrey from the school in after calling the event a “suburban Kristellnacht.”

Andre is understandably pissed about the porno. He had no clue that his apartment had been so terribly desecrated. It does explain how he managed to contract thrush. He couldn’t figure it out since he hasn’t been sexually active in quite some time. Because she is my favorite, Jenny makes a joke, calling Andre’s misfortune the “Immaculate Infection.”

In the episode’s C plot, Jenny returns to work as a realtor. She excitedly shows Kevin her new bench ad which reads “The best realtor in town. Period.” She becomes less than thrilled as a homeless man takes up residence on her bench. Though she looks stunning in the ad, she’s clearly been photshopped, which Taco points out. Jenny forces Kevin to attempt to evict the homeless man from the bench because she feels that the guy is detracting potential clients. In a misguided attempt to convince the homeless man to abandon Jenny’s bench, explaining that he’s simply trying to please his wife, which is especially difficult at the moment because she’s on her period. Of course the homeless guy defaces her bench, using this information and the unfortunate wording of her ad. In the end, Kevin’s solution to getting the bench restored to its former glory is to graffiti it with a swastika, knowing that the government will have to clean it.

Much to my chagrin, Ruxin’s Shiva Ring makes a reappearance when Andre finds it in his couch. Ruxin actually vomits when it touches him, which makes me happy in a sadistic way.

Overall, not much football talk this week. Honestly, I watched a CW show (Hart of Dixie) with more discussion of football than this week’s episode of The League (about ‘Bama and Mark Ingram, no less). That there is just wrong. Regardless, Roll Tide!

Thoughts, comments, reactions? Hit the comments and let me know. I’ll be right back with this week’s actual recap for “The Au Pair.”

“The Lockout”

Welcome to Season 3, Episode 1 of The League. This will be my first foray into recapping, but I’m hoping to make it a regular occurrence. My recaps of The League will be the full-length version of the ones that appear on my family’s fantasy football newsletter “The Crying Towel”. Without further ado:

Previously on The League: a bunch of friends in Chicago have a fantasy football, you guessed it, league. Aside from the few out of town, thereby off-screen, members, the league is made up of Ruxin, Taco, Jenny, Kevin, Pete, and Andre. Ruxin won last year’s season and is the current owner of the Shiva. Andre, however, had the worst season and is in possession of the Sacko.

We open on a video-forum that the league members share. In said video, Ruxin is exercising his bragging rights by making a not-so-terrible copy of the Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” with his very own “Shiva Bowl Shuffle.” He even went so far as to recruit some of his fantasy league team members to provide backup: Maurice Jones-Drew, Brent Grimes, and Sidney Rice.

On the other hand, Andre, is being forced to serenade public transit users by playing flute and performing as a troubadour while his league-mates look on.

Later, at the bar, Ruxin, Kevin, and Pete mock Andre for his ridiculous hair, which he was forced to grow out as yet another Sacko punishment. This look favors neither his bone structure nor his severely receded hairline. According to his friends, he looks like a “magician who also rapes” (instead of a rapist who does magic) because, for Andre, magic always comes first.

As it turns out, Ruxin shows off the Shiva Bowl ring he had made. It is as gaudy as you would imagine (going so far as to say “Suck It” on the side). Andre makes a Lord of the Rings reference which no one gets or appreciates. Taco suddenly appears, home from his round-the-world trip, fresh out of the Taliban (“worst April of my life”) and a bona-fide television star. Well, at least in Algiers. Taco won a recurring role in an Arabic show, Sands of Passion as an “American rapper/cowboy/cautionary tale”, named Buck.  His catchphrase? “Bang, bang, what’s the hang?” The show included correct, if poorly pronounced Arabic, as well as an alternate ending to Taco’s story arc. Spoiler alert: he would either end up marrying his on-screen girlfriend or become a suicide bomber.

Meanwhile, Kevin’s wife Jenny is attempting to train their new puppy. While reading the training book, she realizes that it probably wouldn’t be that out of the question to train her husband using the same methods: lowering her voice and stomping a foot for emphasis. Because this is a TV show, it works. Normally, I would hate the trope of a wife “training” her husband, but in this case I’ll let it slide. He kind of deserves it for wanting to knock Jenny up just to prove his virility. It seems he’s feeling quite down because not only does he sucks as a team-owner, but his wife managed to make it to the Shiva Bowl. Anyway, Jenny’s training technique, while sound, clashes with Pete’s (a double-click on a pen). Adorably, both methods are reinforced by scratching Kevin’s ear. That right there is why you can’t blame Seth Rogen’s character for assuming them to be in a relationship. They’re just really cute together. Anyway, it turns out that Taco also has his brother trained. He “highnotized” him, or, hypnotized him whilst high.

Before we know it, the league, minus Ruxin, is assembled and ready to establish draft order. They have quorum, so they go ahead and start. Of course Ruxin’s name is picked first. Pete throws the paper back in and they re-pick. In a diabolical plan, Ruxin is made the penultimate pick so the draft doesn’t seem rigged and Andre gets the bottom slot as yet another Sacko punishment. When Ruxin appears, he calls bullshit and totes suspects their scheming. Before breezing out, he tells them the season will be suspect unless he wins. His parting line: “Pile into your clown car of lies, because you’re all going down.”

The next day (maybe? Who really knows?) everyone but Jenny and Andre are at the public library to meet with former league member Rafi who is day-drunk. I guess he really needed to distract himself from the fact that his Mexican child-bride was deported. Rafi’s there to help with the last Sacko punishment for Andre: banish him from his awesome apartment, despite the fact that it is draft headquarters, and film a Seth Rogen-directed porno before he returns.

Draft Day: Before the draft starts, everyone minus Andre, heads to the roof of Andre’s apartment where Ruxin has staged a Bachelor-esque celebration (complete with a single red rose and flutes of champagne) in honor of the new season. Taco goes inside to let the porn crew in, closing the patio door behind him. The rest of the group is, you guessed it, suffering a “Lockout.” While the actors are “acting” and the cameras are rolling, the auto-draft kicks in. Everyone gets stuck with terrible picks. (Poor Jenny gets two kickers and two defenses, both early in the draft). Andre, however, is furiously scanning Fantasy Football for Dummies, and is surprised by how quickly the draft is moving. He, too, drafts a terrible team.

After a brief reappearance of the Shiva ring, which we shall hopefully never see again, the episode ends and we’re left to wonder how bad the auto-drafted teams really are.