Monday, March 21, 2011

Rated D - Made for TV

Hello All and Welcome to this special edition of Rated D!

Living in a small town has it benefits and its drawbacks. Commutes to work are much much shorter, but gas is much more expensive. Less temptation to go out all the time and spend your money, but you don't have too many exciting events in close proximity. Almost everywhere you go you run into someone you know, but... almost everywhere you go you run into someone you know. Lastly, occasionally the movies at Valley Cinema 2 don't get changed up as much as one would hope, but this has led to "Rated D - Made for TV"!

Thanks to the success of a family oriented animated flick like Rango, the local theater has continued playing Rango for about three weeks. This weekend they brought in The King's Speech along side of it, which would've been great 8 weeks ago, but now... not so much.

However, there is some really great entertainment out there in other venues, not the least of which is television. Here are a couple of my top picks for TV!

Trivia - Sitcom - Comes from the term Situational Comedy. Popular amongst the Italian movemnet of Comedia del Arte a few hundred years ago. They would be put on in the backs of wagons and were mainly based on improvisation.

How I Met Your Mother - Loosely based on the lives of its creators, this sitcom is currently in its 6th season and is still receiving high ratings from audiences and critics alike. In 2032, Ted Mosby is telling his teenage children the story of how he met their mother. This includes nearly every detail of his life as well as the lives of his closest friends. In my opinion, the storytelling is often funnier than the actual dialogue but there are still plenty of gems. Honestly, when I first watched the show, I couldn't stand how cheesy some of the jokes were and couldn't buy into the somewhat stale acting from some of the main characters, but it is show that really does grow on you. Check out the Thanksgiving episode "Slapsgiving" to test it out if you're unsure.

Traffic Light - In the spirit of taking British shows and adapting them for American Television, Traffic Light has joined the sitcom re-invasion on network television. This is a new one, only 6 episodes old, but I think it's got some serious potential for sticking around. Based on the moments in our lives where we just keep going, slow down, or stop for a bit, this no-laugh track sitcom follows three sets of people: A married couple with a baby, a dating couple who've just moved in with each other, and Ethan... and whoever he's dating that week. It's less cartoonish then How I Met Your Mother, but still lighthearted and fun.

Modern Family - This one's just great. Anyone who's in or ever been in a relationship can relate back to one of these couples. Here's how the family breaks down: The patriarch, Jay, marries the much younger Gloria, becoming stepdad to her 11 year old son Manny. Jay's daughter, Claire, is married to the bumbling Phil and have three kids of their own (Hailey = Pretty, Alex = Smart, Luke =...not as smart) while his gay son, Mitchell, and his partner, Cameron, have just adopted a vietnamese baby named Lily. Shot in the documentary style of The Office and Parks & Rec, this is one of those shows that tells several different stories and usually ties them all together with a heartwarming message, no matter how zany the storylines are.

30 Rock - Absolute craziness. Probably not for everyone but still extremely funny. Follows the absolutely crazy world of the staff of an SNL style show while poking fun at all sorts of celebrities and media outlets. No real sincere moments, just straight up comedy from start to finish. It hits both ends of the comedy spectrum from slapstick humor to clever dialogue and keeps getting funnier as it does so.

It's Alway Sunny in Philadelphia - This is where the list begins to get a bit vulgar. This show on FX is one of my favorites mainly for its wild characters and originality. Mac, Charlie, and Dennis own Paddy's Pub with their dad, Frank, and sister, Sweet Dee. Its language can be offensive to some, but in the end, its a harmless show that is smart enough on its own, but still likes to throw some shock value at the audience for fun.

The League - This one is like the family version of Always Sunny. Also on FX it's language can put some off, but again, its all in good fun. It follows the story of several friends in their attempts to be the champions of their Fantasy Football league. This one blends family life with the same random situations that lead to some really fun stories regardless of what you know about Fantasy Football... or football in general.

West Wing - Very funny and smart. Serious and dramatic at times, but if any show has the right to make things seem like life or death, its one that centers around the leader of the free world. It was best until Creator Aaron Sorkin left after Season 4, but does invest you in the characters.

Breaking Bad - I just started Season 2, but this one is awesome. A dark comedy about an overlooked High School Chemistry teacher who upon finding out he has 18 months to live, he will provide for his pregnant wife and son with Cerebral Palsy by cooking Meth with a former student in New Mexico.

Dexter - You'd think with 3 CSIs, 2 NCISs, and about 12 Law & Orders, a show about a crime scene investigator on Showtime would be pretty much the same old same old. Dexter however is a serial killer with a code of ethics and morals which makes things just a little bit more interesting.

The Walking Dead - Season 1 is all that's available right now and it's only 6 episodes, but it definitely leaves you wanting more. Waking up after an accident, a Georgia cop searches for his family while trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. It sounds ridiculous, but its an intense ride.

Well there you have it! There's plenty more out there, but those are some of my favs!

PS I do leave the couch once in a while. Most of these have been compiled with the help of Netflix and on Saturday mornings or late "can't fall asleep" nights. So there!

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