What Are We Watching this Spring?

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Guys, I feel like I finally shook things up with my TV watching since my last post. Alan and I successfully cut out the cancer that is The Walking Dead from our lives. Ha ha, look, I even wrote that I would watch it unapologetically to the end! But life is so short, and it was honestly just becoming boring. So, we’re not watching that. Having a little baby kind of throws a wrench into having a TV-watching routine, so we watch what we can. But there’s a few great shows on the docket right now.

I am super obsessed with Big Little Lies. And I’m really really bummed it’s a limited 7 episode series, because you guys it’s SO FREAKING GOOD. It’s super captivating, addictive drama that blends in satire so seamlessly. And the soundtrack and stunning locations are just icing. I suddenly decided a week ago I should watch it and then I tore through it and now on Sunday just like that it’ll be gone. Sunday, HBO, 8pm (CT).

Alan and I finally got into The Americans (streaming on Prime). I think everybody should watch it, because it’s sadly more relevant than ever. But it’s really just sexy, thrilling television, and I have a big crush on Matthew Rhys. Tuesdays, FX

I talked last year about how much we love Better Call Saul in our household, and uh, heh, we missed the last two episodes of last season! So please don’t spoil it. But, we’ll be caught up by the time it returns on April 10. Mondays, AMC, 9pm (CT)

As for our favorite HBO comedies, Veep returns April 16 and Silicon Valley returns April 23.

EDIT: also holy shiiiiit a new Game of Thrones trailer came out today and I’m so stokkkkked. 

Not a super long list this time around! What are you watching this Spring? Got any recommendations? I’ve been hearing a ton of buzz about Legion (FX). Maybe I’ll check that out next.

What Are We Watching This Fall?

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Back in the spring I was talking about some shows that Alan and I regularly indulge in (I actually only watched the second season of Catastrophe last week. Oops!) But with our days being fairly low key lately and gearing up to be even more homebodies than ever, I thought I’d talk about TV some more.

Is there anything more wonderful than a good, can’t-stop-watching-it TV show? I contest that there is not. About a month ago we started watching Narcos (or Bad Hombres as I’m calling it now) and blazed through the first two seasons. It fits so neatly into that “Binge-worthy” category. Not sure if I would throw the “prestige” label on it, per se, but it’s pretty damn good. Plus, Pedro Pascal is muy guapo and Pablo Escobar’s dorky dad sweaters and grumpy cat mustache are 🔥 Streaming on Netflix

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I cannot.

The Walking Dead is coming back this Sunday.  Truth be told, I was actually not so furious about the mid-season finale as most people were (I guess me and Chris Hardwick are both schmucks). It seems powerfully uncool to actively be a fan of this show, kind of like Coldplay, but I’ll unapologetically watch it to the end, and I’ll read the think pieces. One complication this Sunday is that I could be in labor and miss it! Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing? Sundays, AMC

Westworld is an interesting slow burn. We’re watching with detached interest at the moment, but I think/hope it’ll be a worthwhile investment. I wasn’t sure what kind of person the concept of “Westworld” was appealing to (because, uh, the Old West cosplay? Snooze!), until it became clear to me that it’s basically the fantasy of living in an open world video game. I could see the appeal in that, if it were Skyrimworld. Sundays, HBO160730-westworld-news.jpg

Last Week Tonight, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and The Daily Show. Seems odd to be talking about non-serialized shows, but we’ve been watching these shows pretty obsessively. Alan is BIG into politics and by and I’m pretty sucked in too. The only way we can sustain in these trying times is to laugh and have our frustrations echoed and validated by people who are funnier than us. While Trevor Noah is no Jon Stewart, he’s actually been doing decently with this election, even though I’d say TDS is probably the weaker of the bunch. Sundays, HBO; Mondays, TBS; Nightly, Comedy Central.

Vikings is another show, like Walking Dead or Game of Thrones where I think after a while the fantasy/escapism overshadows the content and I think “Is this show actually good?” Whether it is or not, we’re pretty hooked, and I like how liberal they are with time jumps. It’s comin’ back in November! Thursdays, History

It’s not out yet, but I’m so excited for The Crown. I am deeply fascinated by the British royal family and royal history in general. I think this series looks super interesting and beautiful. On Netflix November 4

There’s still some shows that I haven’t gotten around to that I really want to check out, like The Americans. I’m thinking that with a baby around I’ll at least have a lot of downtime. AND I’m very stoked that Vulture put out this article about a bunch of good shows to stream. Score!!

So what are you watching lately?

Do You Guys Like TV?

rob-delaney-catastropheThe second season of the British-Irish-American(?) comedy Catastrophe FINALLY comes to Amazon today. I discovered this show last year while browsing Prime one lazy Saturday and I loved it so much I watched all 6 episodes in a sitting. It does such a terrific job of showing a not-quite-functional-but-grown-up-dynamic between two people in a relationship. It’s just a shame it’s so short a series. I’m going to try not to watch it all in one sitting again.

Other than that, I try to keep up with a bunch of shows and I think I generally do OK until I realize how many shows I’m not watching:

Vikings. It started so great and I love the 2nd season so much, but since then it’s slowly declined (I blame the introduction of the French Court; any court set seems to dramatically decrease the production value, but the moody, stark Nordic landscapes are so well done!). Alan and I agree right now this show does a bad job with keeping its main character interesting, and spending too much time on dumb bullshit. Hopefully it turns around. Thursdays, History

Game of Thrones. To be totally honest, I’ll probably keep watching this, but I’ve lost total interest in it, since they’ve veered so far away from the books. I don’t mean to be a book snob. I’m fine with the tv show taking liberties, but to me, certain characters have been ruined for good, and I don’t see how it can redeem itself. And I’m not talking about Jon Snow (if he’s REALLY dead though, that will fuck up lots of speculative canon, no?).Returning April 24, Sundays, HBO

Veep. From the brilliant mind of British Satirist Armando Iannucci (who has a longstanding business relationship with my favorite comedian of all time, Stewart Lee), this show is comedy ensemble acting at its finest, with Matt Walsh as the true gem.Returning April 24, Sundays, HBO

Silicon Valley. This and Veep are a one-two punch on Sunday. A good way to cleanse myself of Game of Chairs. I think the second season was not as strong as the first, but I have high hopes for season 3. Returning April 24, Sundays, HBO

Better Call Saul. Truly the gem of prime cable television right now. I love the slow, deliberate pacing. It luxuriates in letting the story of how Jimmy McGill becomes Saul Goodman so nicely. And Bob Odenkirk is a-maz-ing. Mondays, AMCtumblr_nm25zx77Rt1qbd52ro2_r2_500

Archer. This is one of the smartest and funniest comedies on TV, period. Thursdays, FXX

The Walking Dead. I’ve never had such a complicated relationship with a TV show. Seasons 4 & 5 were weak in my mind. In spite of that, I watched the show while simultaneously resenting it for how much power it had over me (you can’t skip a week with shows like this – or Game of Thrones – not when the threat of spoilers is so heavy). This last season I finally felt like I loved it! Probably seems unpopular to say I’m still a fan of this show, especially after that finale. Unlike Game of Thrones, which is based on slightly more sophisticated source material, I stay invested in this show, and I honestly couldn’t say exactly why. The costumes, practical effects and production design are all better. I tend to like the characters more, at least on a human level (on paper [literally], GOT characters are a nuanced, complex bunch). Probably the real reason I keep coming back is the showrunners’ super manipulative – but effective – storytelling. Maybe it’s not even storytelling per se. Every episode tends to open with a hook, meanders for about 40 minutes, and ends with a cliffhanger. Once I write it out, that does sound pretty shitty. Ultimately it is good, chilling drama. The finale was pretty universally panned, but Alan have discussed it at length and both agreed that it was insanely tense and distressing, and despite the ambiguity of the ending, it was an awesome, dramatic way to end the season. To each their own I guess. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Returning October, Sundays, AMC

There are still so many shows I want to watch (The Americans, being one), but there’s so little time, especially when I just keep watching Arrested Development on Netflix… ✚

Honeymooners V: Bummin’ Around

A few rando honeymoon shots. We’ve been back a whole month now! Damn. HAWAII-0007 HAWAII-0022We took two trips to Kona Brewing and enjoyed their taproom immensely. Such a great selection! It was ever so hot in that taproom though…HAWAII--16Our second and last day of having a rental car, we rented some boogie boards and wend to Kua Bay which we’d heard from a few people that it was one of the best swimming beaches in Hawai’i. It was super clear water, not too crowded, and great surf. Was the terrible sunburn and fine white sand in my bathing suit worth it? Only time will tell…HAWAII-0105 HAWAII-0112After the beach, and getting cleaned up, we went out for Poke then decided to find a random location to drive to south of the hotel, which is a completely different landscape! Lush rainforest way up this hill. If I hadn’t been driving I’d have been taking a thousand photos, and would’ve burned my memory card to a crisp. I can’t believe we just found this place randomly. “Captain Cook Monument.” We saw no actual monument. HAWAII-WAVESNext up: Hawaiian sunsets and an instagram roundup.

Parts I, II, III, & IV

Advertising and “The Feels”

thefeelsDisclaimer: I am not being paid by Subaru

Advertising is tricky. You really have to find the best way to connect with your audience and trigger the right emotions that will make them want to buy something. I could cover a wide range of topics here but first I just want to talk about the commercials that are supposed to get you teary eyed. They hit you right “in the feels.”

Ads That Do This in Spades:

Subaru – “Best Friend”

Oh my GOD, this commercial! I think this is the first commercial that ever made me cry, and it still does, pretty consistently (sometimes I have to LEAVE THE ROOM). You start out with a single guy and his puppy, then his wife and now the puppy is a dog, and then they have a kid! And the dog is super old! What a way to succinctly paint the idea that life is fleeting, and it’s fragile. It also plays with the notion of loyalty, and how your Subaru will be around forever, just like your dog (spoiler alert: that dog is going to die someday though). So suddenly there’s a toddler in the backseat, and you think about your own life, and how it’s really blink-and-you-miss-it. Also, the music. The music is just devastating. Watch this and I DARE you not to get a little choked up.

Subaru – “Cut the Cord”

Another Subaru. I should just mention right now that all the commercials that are “wins” for me are for Subaru. They must have a helluva ad department over there. Anyway, this commercial got me too. It was almost competing with the dog commercial but the music just isn’t as heart-wrenching. That little girl’s face is perfect. How many of us have been there? The very first day of school; we don’t know what’s ahead. We’re scared and our mom or dad is about to send us away. The look on the dad’s face is equally as precious, because he’s just as scared as his daughter. It deals those big moments that everyone faces in life, and how hard it can be to do so (see below). I will say though, this ad misses the mark in making the connection between The Feels and The Car.

Subaru – “Baby Driver”

BLINK AND YOU MISS IT, AMIRITE? The message here is that you can trust this car, and it’s so safe that your daughter–who is still just your little girl–can drive it and you can feel assured. Ah, fragility of life. There may come a day soon where I’ll be in the market for a new car, and dammit, Subaru, it just might be you. I’ll use skepticism and caution when picking out a car, but just the fact that they are so good at advertising, they’re worth a look.

Ads That Suck Beyond Belief:

Open Hearts

Without a doubt, the commercials for “Open Hearts”, the actress Jane Seymour’s jewelry collection with Kay Jewelers is the absolute worst example of connecting with people. “The Feels” it has none. I find these commercials unnatural and contrived. Such wooden acting, with no real trigger or true emotion and no real effort of connecting with people. Here’s a bonus commercial which is equally vomit-inducing. And what a shitty thing to advertise for, too. Ugly, gaudy necklace, and the idea that you can use jewelry to thank or show affection for people. Ugh!

Folgers – “Christmas 2009”

I’ve been forced to watch this one a couple times on Hulu. Just terrible, and Folgers is already not coffee I want to contemplate buying. Who is this rugged, manly guy who is such a softie for his family? Must be the ideal son. And his sister and he have a tender moment on Christmas Morning. AWWW? Totally manufactured in its delivery, and these people are almost robot-like.

Budweiser – “Clydesdales”

This is the most recent commercial, which was aired on Super Bowl Sunday. I think it was my least favorite of the night. I mean, try harder, Budweiser? Their use of the song “Landslide” almost puts this one down the middle for me, but what ultimately puts me over the edge is the ending. It’s like a bad romantic comedy – OR – romantic drama, I can go either way. How am I supposed to relate to this? This guy doesn’t show me anything that makes me believe he really loves that horse. It was also spoiled for me half-way through when I thought the horse was being shipped off to be turned into glue, which made me laugh [NOTE: Animal Cruelty isn’t funny, but the perceived notion of a beloved, majestic creature have an Animal Farm-like end is hi-larious].

So there you go. This is obviously a small sampling, where I have the only commercials that really get me, and the worst commercials I’ve ever seen. But advertising is tricky like that isn’t it? In the future, I’ll touch upon commercials that get you in “The Funnies”. x

note: I thought about commercials that’ll get you super down, like anti-drug ads, but those seemed a bit easy and therefore were not mentioned.

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