30 November, 2011

The GeekFurious TOP 10 Episodes of CHUCK

As this lovely little show comes to an end, one must celebrate its greatness in many ways. This is just one of those ways... by defining the best of the best (so far, since, as of this writing, we are only on episode 4 of season 5)!

So while we have this time, let's punch up the list of the TEN BEST EPISODES OF CHUCK EVER! At least according to the Geek and the Furious:

10. Chuck Versus the Intersect - Season 1, episode 1: The pilot episode comes in at #10 essentially for being one of the best pilot episodes ever made! It does a great job of setting up the characters, the story, and the arcs that will play out for the next few seasons. Plus, Bryce Larkin is a super kung fu monkey in it. He will never be that nimble again.

Chuck: Working on my five-year plan, just need to choose a font.

9. Chuck Versus the Dream Job - Season 2, episode 19: This one could be anywhere on the list, really. It introduces us to Papa B. It has one of Zachary Levi's best performances in anything ever. It also features some of Sarah Lancaster's best work, not to mention Scott Bakula is AWESOME in it! So much to say, and yet I have to move on to the next one.

Chuck: Ellie was really hoping that you might be there to walk her down the aisle.
Papa B: Oh I don't think she would want me there.
Chuck: I, I mean, of course, of course she does. We both do.
Papa B: It's not a good idea. But tell her that I'm happy for her.
Chuck: Are you, are you joking? You have to do this, she's your daughter. Don't you wanna be there?
Papa B: Charles, I can't.
Chuck: I, I don't wanna hear what you can't do! I've seen what you can't do!

8. Chuck Versus the Truth - Season 1, episode 8: Written by fan-favorite Ali Adler. It has drama, comedy, family, romance, and is very memorable to boot. Plus, it was probably the episode that set the Chuck and Sarah will-they-won't-they steamroller into overdrive (though, an episode not on this list, Hard Salami, would mash the nuclear button on that little thingy).

Chuck: What?! You give me crap about lighting some candles and you come in wearing that?
Sarah: What, this? This, this is part of my cover.
Chuck: Well, it doesn't cover a thing.

7. Chuck Versus the Last Details - Season 4, episode 23: Season 4 may be the shipper favorite but it only appears once on this list. However, this is one of the funniest episodes in the series, while also featuring some pretty dramatic stuff. It's also more quotable than most of the season.

Sarah: (addressing Mama B) We're not leaving you here to get tortured, we have a wedding to get you to.
Casey: (opening the cell door) Hey! We gotta move! Let's go!
Mama B: (addressing Sarah) Sweetheart, I know the wedding is important but so is the nation's safety. If I leave now, they will move the weapon and we'll never get it!
Sarah: Mary, don't be stubborn, we're just here to extract you not finish a failed mission!
Mama B: Failed? Stubborn?
Chuck: Okay, okay, okay. Look, here's the plan. I'm gonna go with Casey to get the Norseman. Sarah, you're going to stay with mom, make sure she doesn't get tortured. Everybody good?
Mama B: I don't need backup.
Sarah: Why can't Casey stay with your mom?
Casey: Hell no! I'm going with Chuck!

6. Chuck Versus the Beard - Season 3, episode 9: Most of it happens inside the Buy More. Most of it is about Morgan finding out about the spy world. It is also the first episode directed by Zachary Levi. And it is... awesome! Morgan's reaction to finding out his buddy has been a spy all this time made my geek heart melt.

Chuck: Morgan, the truth is.. the truth is, I am a member of a joint NSA/CIA black-ops team that is stationed here in Burbank. I have a level six clearance and my code-name is Charles Carmichael. I'm a spy buddy.

Casey: What the hell's going on in here?
Big Mike: The store's being bought. They're canning everybody except Bartowski and Grimes.
Jeff: We're staging a revolution, to take down the man!
Casey: I want in!
Lester: How do we know that we can trust you, son? That you're not some kind of spy for the man?
Casey: Because the only thing I hate more than hippy neo-liberal fascists and anarchists, are the hypocrite fatcat suits they eventually grow up to become.
Lester: Yep, that works for me.

5. Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon - Season 2, episode 16: Not only does this one feature the best challenge to the Chuck and Sarah will-they-won't-they romance, but it also pushed Chuck into standing up for himself and his love. In the end, as Cole Barker loses to Bartowski, and Chuck then defines his intentions to the woman he loves, we end on the knowledge that our hero has had his own agenda the whole time. Essentially, from the second Block Party's "Signs" kicks in, until the end of the episode, is the best five minutes the show has ever done. Riveting stuff.

Chuck: Sarah, I'm not gonna move in with you. Because I can't. And you know why I can't. I'm crazy about you and, and I've always been. But you know having a fake relationship, that's one thing. But living together is.. I mean every day being around each other, and, and.. and that's why I can't do it. And I hope you understand.
Sarah: I do.
Chuck: Thank you. Oh and just so you know, I am gonna get this thing out of my head, one day. I will. And when I do, I'm gonna live the life that I want, with the girl that I love. Because I'm not gonna let this thing rob me of that, I won't.

4. Chuck Versus the Tic Tac - Season 3, episode 10: Casey goes bad? Chuck and Sarah go to save him. And we discover lots about the colonel we didn't know. Features some of the best scenes and sequences in the series. One could even argue this is the best Chuck and Sarah on a mission episode of the series.

General Beckman: We think this might have been an inside job. Only a handful of our people knew the Laudonal was being kept in box 092407.
Chuck: (laughing) Oh yes. I get it now. You're good. You are good, General. You guys, you are good. Very good. This is a test, right?
Casey: Bartowski.
Chuck: First it was the solo mission on the plane. Then turning an assett. Now this time it's (dramatically) 'Chuck will you betray your country or will you turn in your friend and partner, John Casey, for stealing the pill?' I'll play ball. Okay. (pointing at Casey) Guilty. He did it.
General Beckman: (very serious) Are you positive you saw Colonel Casey take the pill, Mr. Bartowski?
Chuck: (happily) Yeah! (realizing something is up) No? No, no I would, I would, I would actually not use the word positive. It was very poorly lit in that, ummm. I'm, I'm wrong half the time, so.
General Beckman: Colonel Casey, would you care to respond?
Casey says nothing. Sarah reaches for her gun.
Chuck: Whoa, whoa, woah, woah, woah. Hang on a second. Let's just all take a breath here, okay? John Casey is one of the most loyal spies out there. He would never do anything to jeopardize the CIA. Casey, tell 'em!
Casey: With all due respect, General. I will excercise my right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
Chuck: What're you doing?
General Beckman: Agent Walker, please relieve the Colonel of his weapon.
Sarah: (pointing her weapon at Casey, looking determined but confused) John, you wanna tell me what's going on?

3. Chuck Versus the Break-Up - Season 2, episode 3: If season 1 had the Chuck and Sarah steamroller and the nuclear button, this was the episode that blew up the brains of shippers everywhere. It also brought back Bryce Larkin who was either Chuck's best friend or worst enemy. It's still up for debate. Lots of crazy fun stuff happens and it all culminates with a classic speech from Chuck to a Sarah who is getting too close to her asset.

Chuck: Look, we both know how I feel about you so I'm just gonna shoot straight. Sarah, you're the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. You're beautiful, you're smart, you laugh at all of my stupid jokes and you have this horrible habit of constantly saving my life. The truth is, you're everything that I thought I ever wanted and more. And for the last few days all I can think about is our future together. About what, what it's going to be like once I finally get the Intersect out of my head. How we'll finally be together for real. No fake relationships, no covers, no lies. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that you and I can never have a future together. I fooled myself into thinking that we could but the truth is we can't. Because even if we had a real relationship it would never really be real. I'd still never know anything about you. Your real name, your home town, your first love, anything. And I want more than that. I wanna be able to call you at the end of a bad day and tell you about some funny thing that Morgan did and not find out that I can't because you're off somewhere in Paraguay quelling a revolution with a fork. I'm a normal guy who wants a normal life. And as amazing as you are, Sarah Walker, we both know that you will never be normal.
Sarah: You know, some day, when the Intersect is out of your head and you have the life that you always wanted, you'll forget all about me.
Chuck: I seriously doubt that.

2. Chuck Versus the Honeymooners - Season 3, episode 14: The episode that wasn't supposed to happen. The show was a lock to be cancelled after 13 but NBC had so many other problems that they ordered more and what followed is easily one of the best. Sarah being cute and funny? Check! Chuck speaking French and Texan? Check! Casey and Morgan having to work together to find the two love birds? Yup. And everything coming together with our two leads having to fight a room full of bad guys handcuffed together? You know it! And if that wasn't enough, how about we end it on the most perfect note? Done. Sure, this may not be as well written as some of the episodes, and the spy story isn't all that interesting, but it is one of those episodes that ranks high for being so emotionally satisfying from beginning to end. A blast to watch over and over and over.

Chuck and Sarah have both been secretly spying after telling each other they wouldn't.
Sarah: You know, Chuck, I can't fake this. Not with you.
Chuck: (jumping up in bed) What?! You've been faking it the whole time?!
Sarah: No, no, no, not that. I spotted a Basque terrorist on board, Juan...
Chuck: (finishing her sentence) Diego Arnaldo, I know, I flashed on him. He has a whole list of names in his room.
Sarah: Yeah. All of his contacts from the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna!
Chuck: Oh my god. You even make terrorist groups sound sexy.
Sarah: So you were the one I was hiding from.
Chuck: You were the one in the bathroom? You know, Juan Diego Arnaldo is a terrorist, after all, it would be irresponsible..
Sarah: (finishing his sentence) Even criminal to turn our backs on him.
Chuck: One last mission before we quit?
Sarah: One last mission.

1. Chuck Versus the Colonel - Season 2, episode 21: If nirvana was ever achieved on CHUCK its name is Colonel. Chuck and Sarah are on the run and have to shack up in a no-tell-motel and have to share a bed. When they wake up, they are snuggling. Do they stop? Nope. They attack each other like crazed ANIMALS! Oh and Papa B being held by Fulcrum; Casey seemingly working against Chuck and Sarah but really just moody about not being included in their plan; Captain Awesome and John Casey fighting; Awesome discovering the truth about Chuck, then having a terrible time keeping it a secret; Chuck's first de-Intersecting; the near annihilation of Fulcrum, and so on and so on and so on. This is the best episode ever made!

Chuck: (speaking very quickly) Devon, I am a high level CIA asset and these are my handlers. For the past two-years they've had to watch and protect my every move.
Sarah: Chuck! No!
Chuck: He can handle it! You can handle this right? Tell me you can handle this.
Awesome: You're being serious? He's being serious?!
Chuck: Devon, I need you to help me. I need you to be cool about this. I need you to cover for me with Ellie. I need you to be awesome. Can you be awesome?
Awesome: You're a spy, Chuck?
Chuck: Yeah, more or less, yeah.
Awesome: (taking it all in) Woah. Wow! This is.. awesome! Yeah! (they high-five) I knew you weren't a loser who worked at the Buy More!
Chuck: Loser's a little, that's a little harsh. Okay, here, here's the thing, the Buy More actually is real. But here's the most important thing and I need you to do this for me right now. I need you to go home and handle Ellie. That is your mission. Can you do that?
Awesome: I got your back, bro. (salutes)
Chuck: Right. Right. (salutes back)
Awesome: Spy!
Chuck: Keep that on the DL.

Honorable Mentions: Wookiee, Salami, Seduction, Cougars, DeLorean, Santa Claus, Suburbs, Operation Awesome, Living Dead, Subway, Phase Three, Seduction Impossible, and Frosted Tips.

So what do you think are the top 10 episodes of the series. Obviously this list isn't the end-all, be-all, final word on the matter. Surely some crazy shipper list would include nothing but terrible episodes where Chuck and Sarah kissed or held hands while the writing, acting, and story sucked hardcore. Also, once season 5 ends, this list may change. But it is what it is, for now.

Anonymous commenting, as always, is available if you can't be bothered to identify yourself.




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Skyrim PC Patch 1.2 and why you should NOT download it.

Sure, this game is awesome, even if buggy, but thankfully Bethesda is patching it so it will all be good. Right?

Right?

Well, in this instance, wrong. Because this latest patch causes more problems than it solves. Here is one of them:



Or this:



And apparently this latest patch has totally screwed up damage and magic resistance (this is from the PS3 but apparently applies to the PC too):



So, instead of patching, wait for them to fix the things they screwed up while trying to fix the game.



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NEW GIRL 1.07: Bells!

In the latest episode of NEW GIRL, Jess got bells and Winston got bellsier, while Nick and Schmidt went to war. More after I hit enter twice.

Winston's competitiveness story-line was interesting to some degree but I only cared about it as it related to the humor in the scenes. I liked when the show took us to his job, from the boredom of temp work to later, when the bells had so consumed his time that it caused his firing. But whether or not he has a competitive personality or how it affected the kids couldn't have been any less interesting. And since it almost completely took up Jess' story-line as well, this was the first episode where I felt very little connection to her.

So, it all fell on the Nick vs. Schmidt stuff. Here is where the episode felt the most genuine to me. Schmidt, who has a job that pays him well, having to suffer bad plumbing because Nick is poor, was at least a story-line of substance. Though, a show like COMMUNITY or SOUTH PARK would have taken it further and made it about economic inequality and how Schmidt's initial disregard for Nick's significance as it relates to what he can financially bring to the table, versus Nick feeling insulted by Schmidt's need to pay the problem away, was a cause-and-effect of a lack of sympathy and empathy. But this show doesn't seem to want to become about more than the moment, and so we got some funny scenes between the two roommates as they try to one-up the other in a demonstration of their importance, but not much more.

Nick, who has taken it upon himself to "fix" anything in the apartment, instead of paying for someone to do it, starts un-fixing things. Schmidt, who seems to have paid for the majority of furniture and appliances in the apartment, evicts Nick and his things from them. This includes all of Nick's food content in the freezer which Schmidt gently, like a ninja, leaves in Nick's bed as he sleeps. That's some heavy sleeping or major assassin skills.

And that's really the extend of the episode. Lots of bells. Lots of yelling. In the end Winston accepts that he is too competitive, while Nick and Schmidt make up like guys tend to do, with one dude asking the other if he wants to go to a bells concert, and then sharing gum while listening to Eye of the Tiger. So typical.

And now for some quotables from the episode:

Schmidt is eating a platter of sushi by himself and offers some to Nick, who refuses.
Nick: Looks like you are soloing on $80 worth of sushi, Schmidt.
Schmidt: 'Cause I got the means, player.

Winston's temp job is so boring that he is on the verge of cracking.
Wintson: I'm losing my mind, guys. You know I sometimes touch the frayed part of the power cord just to feel something.

When Jess brings over a bunch of kids with bells the boys are not happy.
Schmidt: Is this something that a mean creative judge made you do?
Nick: Yeah, this is just like a nightmare I had where you brought over teenagers with bells!

When the boys object to Jess bringing the kids over, she reacts aggressively.
Jess: And I'm not really asking permission, I'm giving you a heads-up. (uncomfortable silence) Well, that got serious!

When one of the kids uses the toilet and it floods, Nick has to manipulate his creative fix-it.
Nick: There we go. No problem.
Schmidt: Perfect. You did it. The plastic soda bottle is right where it's supposed to be. Back in the wall-hole!

When Winston shows a crazy impressive natural ability to play bells, Jess asks him to work with her and the kids.
Wintson: I don't know, I think I could be into this.
Jess: Yay!
Nick: And with that statement, he never had sex again.

Schmidt, having asked Nick for a "fancy fix" of the toilet, is impatient as Nick works on the problem.
Schmidt: Nick, look, I don't mean to nag you but how long is this going to take?
Nick: Fancy fix? Fancy amount of time.

Schmidt: If only there was some sort of pipe and water expert that we could hire to come fix this problem.
Nick: Yeah, I can't afford a plumber.
Schmidt: A plumber! That's what it's called!

When Schmidt hires a plumber, Nick is not happy. The two argue about throwing money at a problem.
Schmidt: Is this 'my favorite bedspread' all over again?
Nick: That was a handmade gift my nanny gave me that you spilled a pitcher of Midori Sours on and now you bring it up like it's nothing?!
Schmidt: I left you a check for $30 on your pillow. Your nanny gave you that thing for free. So as far as I'm concerned, you're up thirty bucks.
Nick: My nanny is dead! I'm not looking to make money off of her!
Schmidt: I will not apologize again for the Midori Sour!
Nick: Who drinks Midori Sour?!

Schmidt: It's an American classic with Asian influences!

When Schmidt tries to shoot baskets inside the apartment, the backboard falls off nearly hitting him.
Nick: Yeah, I unfixed that.
Schmidt: Yeah, well how you gonna unfix a dead Schmidt?!

When an un-fixed cabinet door falls off as Jess tries to open it, she expresses her frustration.
Jess: This has to stop! It's not my war!

Schmidt suspects Nick has been using his hair product.
Nick: Okay, Schmidt, I didn't use your conditioner.
Schmidt: Why's your hair look so baby soft?!

After the two argue, Schmidt angrily calls Nick a loser but immediately feels bad about it.
Schmidt: Just these are the things that come out, man, when you take another man's conditioner.

Nick and Winston talk seriously about friends.
Nick: You know what sucks about getting older? Your friends have known you for way too long. They've got too much on ya.
Winston: Yup.
Nick: I want friends who still lie to me because they don't want to hurt my feelings. I sadly kind of mean that.

If I had to rate this one I'd give it:

78 out of 100

It wasn't anything special but I did enjoy the bro-fighting and the somewhat memorable bits of dialogue.

I can't believe I put this much time into an episode I didn't love (the quotable stuff mostly).



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28 November, 2011

Review: Korn - The Path of Totality

The 10th album in this nu metal band's storied career has escaped and I'm here to squeeze the life out of it.

I admit, Korn isn't a band that is ever on my radar and I didn't even bother following the release date information about this album, so it kind of caught me by surprise when it landed on my doorstep, or something. I quickly popped this thing into my massive sound system and let it rip. And boy was I fuckin' surprised.

This ditty is experimental to say the least. It is a mixture of the Korn sound (which is clear as day, as you are never confused as to what band made this shit) and a bunch of electronic house shit I would never fuckin' listen to otherwise. But is it a massive shitfest like Lou Reed and Metallica's abortionaholic Lulu? Fuck no. It is actually, quite surprisingly, damn good.

Let's rate the tracks (mixer, producer, or whatever you want to call it in parentheses):

1. "Chaos Lives in Everything" (Skrillex) - A nice little intro into this new sound. Kicks off like I'm getting assaulted or raped at some techno rave. Then the vocals kick in and I'm not totally on board but it doesn't take long for the totality (see what I did?) of sound to wash over me and I'm cool with what I'm hearing. Good beat, melody, and overall atmosphere. 85 out of 100

2. "Kill Mercy Within" (Noisia) - The opening reminds me a bit of Mastodon. There is a nice bit of subtlety that leads into a cool NIN type thing. It's not an awesome track, nor do I feel violated in any way. I'm liking it enough that I don't feel like going immediately to the next track. Great thing is that it's short and doesn't overstay its welcome. 80 out of 100

3. "My Wall" (Excision) - No subtlety. Nice beat. Nothing special. The melody isn't all that memorable. But like the previous track, it is short and even if I'm not digging it too much, I'm not subjected to five minutes or more of it (fuck you, Lulu). 76 out of 100

4. "Narcissistic Cannibal" (Skrillex, Kill the Noise) - Holy fuck this is awesome. Orgasmic. It could win in a knife fight with the best Korn has ever offered. Superb beat, melody, vocals, and overall construction. Reminds me of those good old days, chillin' out in New Jersey metal clubs that played all kinds of shit, like God Lives Underwater to Orgy. In fact, those are the two bands that come to mind as I listen to this track over and over. Fuckin' love the motherfuck out of this track. 98 out of 100

5. "Illuminati" (Excision, Downlink) - Bow down before the one you serve, you're going to get what you deserve! No? Okay, so it is a bit more original than that. But it's a tad inspired. Still, that was a great song and this is the bastard child of its ethereal inspiration. I dig the beat but I actually really like the later shift to a quieter head-space. Would have liked a bit more of that as it would have set the track apart even more. 83 out of 100

6. "Burn the Obedient" (Noisia) - The song asks me if I am scared, and I am... but not of a piece of music. That's fuckin ridiculous. But maybe I should be because I'm not totally in love with this one. It's not bad but without the proper amount of alcohol, drugs, or brain damage, I don't think I will be listening to it ever again. 70 out of 100

7. "Sanctuary" (Downlink) - The opening is trying the patience of my ears to be buzzzzzzzed like a mad fuckin' beehive. There is an okay melody hidden tightly away in some sections of this one but my sensitive ears are on fire from the buzzzzzzzz and only exasperating my tinnitus. Still, it is somewhat saved by listenable sections and so I survive. 75 out of 100

8. "Let's Go" (Noisia) - It's a happy little number. Upbeat like an anxious 20-year old club chick demonstrating her willingness to please any man who will drown out the daddy-issue noises in her brainz. And just like her, I am over and done with it quickly and nearly forgotten, but still holding onto the memory that something kind of fun just happened. 78 out of 100

9. "Get Up!" (Skrillex) - Woohoo! I am in the new TRON movie! Well, that's how I felt when it started. Anyway, this is a bit all over the place but I am digging it. Beats, vocal melodies, hardcore stuff, and a cool groove thang. There is kind of a riffing on the techno stuff past the midpoint that is cool but also has some jarring male vocal line that sounds like someone having a finger pushed too far up their asshole. I have to take off 5 points just for that. What the fuck? 80 out of 100

10. "Way Too Far" (12th Planet) - Apparently someone fell and broke a leg. I like the heavier shit in this track, followed by the big melodies. It's an interesting mix of genres, from hardcore barking to the chorus, if we want to call it that, being a bit poppy. I'd say this is one of the more daring and standout tracks. Maybe not my favorite but I respect it for trying some cool shit. 90 out of 100

11. "Bleeding Out" (Feed Me) - Opens pretty and then kicks some fuckin' ass about a minute in, then shifts to hauntingly melodic. I could see this working either with all this tech behind it or purely as part of a normal Korn set. It has a classic feel to it while sounding current. It even brings back the bagpipes for good measure. It's all kinds of cool. 95 out of 100

12. "Fuels the Comedy" (Kill the Noise) - One of the two bonus tracks that you may or may not have on your purchase. Rap metal is sometimes cool and sometimes not. This is one of those not times. But right around the two minute mark the track goes in a cool direction and I would like to hear that song more than this one. 70 out of 100

13. "Tension" (Excision, Datsik, Downlink) - I go in and out of love throughout its nearly four minutes. It plods a long spookily and parts of the vocal phrasing toward the end's a lot of fun. It's one of those things you probably either love or hate and I'm going to go with love. 87 out of 100

Overall
83 out of 100

It is actually an 82 if we include the bonus tracks but I am going to bump it up to the 83 anyway. That would make it a B-grade album. Has some excellent stuff on it but also some so-so to borderline not-so-good material. However, nothing on the album stands out as awful (fuck you, Lulu). It's not the band's best work but it is a quality release nonetheless and a big surprise when you consider the change in musical direction. As experimental metal band albums go, this one is a winner.

Fuck you very much, again, Loutallica.



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24 November, 2011

Netflix vs Blockbuster vs Gamefly: What monthly subscription is the best deal?


Some months ago Netflix, the industry powerhouse in the delivery of home video content, pissed off millions of its customers by increasing costs of certain options by as much as 60%. This resulted in not just negative reactions via social media but actual losses for the company of nearly a million subscribers. This is no small bit as the negative reaction to the fee structure has resulted in huge shifts in market value for the company, once over $16 billion, now hovering around $5 billion even as earnings have increased.

This sudden shift left a massive opening for the failing Blockbuster Video just as the company was closing stores across the country. Could they offer a competing monthly subscription package? Could they possibly afford not to? Surprisingly, even though they have come out with what is an attempt to grab some of those Netflix customers, the plan isn't a Netflix killer.

To gamers, Gamefly has been the home delivery video game rental giant, and hasn't had any big competition in that realm until recently, with Blockbuster adding games to its own options.

But which one offers the best deal? Let's check it out. Note that I am going to round off the price points to give people the realistic cost and not the psychological-illusion-of-paying-less-cost:

NETFLIX
Video Rentals
  • $5 a month for limited streaming of 2-hours per month, and a limit of 2-discs per month.

  • $8 a month for unlimited streaming, no discs.

  • $8 a month for 1-disc at a time, with no streaming.
  • $12 a month for 2-discs at a time, with no streaming.

  • $16 a month for 1-disc at a time, with unlimited streaming.
  • $20 a month for 2-discs at a time, with unlimited streaming.
  • $24 a month for 3-discs at a time, with unlimited streaming.
  • $30 a month for 4-discs at a time, with unlimited streaming.

Game Rentals
Though Netflix announced it would offer video games rentals, the recent decision to not split the subscription services between Netflix and Qwikster has caused the company to reevaluate that option.

Overview
Netflix offers a wide variety of home video options that are unequaled, especially when you look at the video streaming option. Even at the increased price, the 1-disc plus unlimited streaming option is better than anything else the industry offers. And if you don't care about receiving physical discs, the unlimited streaming option is a bargain when compared to virtually every legal on-demand option available anywhere. The lack of a video game rental option does hurt it but the company is still considering it (will update this article if they change their mind).

It should be noted that Netflix adds an extra cost to those who want to receive Blu-Ray discs, when available.

BLOCKBUSTER
Video and Game Rentals
  • $10 a month for 1-disc at a time, no streaming, but with in-store exchanges available.
  • $15 a month for 2-discs at a time, no streaming, but with in-store exchanges available.
  • $20 a month for 3-discs at a time, no streaming, but with in-store exchanges available.

Overview
Blockbuster does provide a streaming option but it is pure on-demand, where you pay per rental. I am not including that as part of this analysis since it isn't a monthly fee. Therefor, Blockbuster's current service only provides physical discs. For anyone leaving Netflix having utilized its streaming option and looking to Blockbuster, this is a no-brainer. Don't do it. However, if you want to have the option to rent games, then this is a viable option. Also, the ability to exchange those discs at a local store (if there is one still near you) gives consumers the most amount of options for receiving and returning discs, as well as the quickest possible service.

If you consider that the mail delivery service can take several days, having a Blockbuster subscription means you could easily watch many more movies, or play many more games, per month for the lowest cost option than even the highest cost option for its competitors provided there is a store nearby.

Unfortunately, the lack of an unlimited video streaming option makes this a much less attractive option to non-gamers than Netflix. However, if you have a nearby Blockbuster store and you like to watch a new disc every day, then this may be the way to go.

Let me also note that unlike Netflix, Blockbuster does not charge extra for renting Blu-Ray discs.

GAMEFLY
Game Rentals
  • $16 a month for 1-disc at a time.
  • $23 a month for 2-discs at a time.

Overview
Gamefly has the highest cost per option but also the most available games. You are more likely to receive the game you want from Gamefly than from Blockbuster. However, you are paying $6 more a month for the 1-disc option, and $8 a month for the 2-disc option for that availability. If $72 or $96 a year increase is worth that to you, then Gamefly is your best option.

Conclusion
For pure video rental options, Netflix is still your best bet, especially if you are a big video streamer. However, for video disc and game rentals, Blockbuster is the only option. And finally, for pure video game rentals, Gamefly is still king.

However, I highly recommend trying out Blockbuster to see if their lower cost and greater amount of rental options serve your needs better.

Each service has a FREE trial period, with Gamefly also offering the first month at a reduced cost. Though, beware that when you order the service, they put the first-month price up front and toss the actual price in parentheses. This is done to entice people to the service with the appearance of the lower price-point. Sure, they include the actual price immediately following but this is yet another psychological-trick of marketing, implanting the initial price into the mind of a potential customer.

Out of the three, Gamefly is the only one utilizing this price-point marketing scheme and that may give a more discriminating consumer pause. Though, most gamers are likely too high on Mountain Dew and full of pizza to think much about it.



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21 November, 2011

Game of Thrones - Season 2 Production Video!


The newly crowned King of the Geeks, GAME OF THRONES and its second season may be far, far, far, far away, but at least there is a production video to drive us crazy like coco flakes. Enjoy and tell all your friends about it.





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19 November, 2011

FRINGE 4.07 - Wallflower


This review is going to be very easy to write and I thank the writers for that.

One of the smartest things the FRINGE writers did this season was bring Peter Bishop back. And then they wrote this episode and destroyed any good will they earned with the previous episode. What happens in this episode? Who gives a shit?! An awful case-of-the-week? Check. Dumbham being dumb? Check. This unnatural Olivia trying to get with her partner plot? Check. Peter barely in it? Check. A surprising ending that won't be explained for at least 2 months because the show is on hiatus? Check.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

45 out of 100.

A total, unmitigated failure of epic proportions. I actually read a review by some hack that called this a "great" episode while giving it a B. Clearly, this person must be trying to kiss some major ass at FOX or WB. Though, how is a "great episode" a B? What is an A? Life saving episode?

Coming off such a well executed (overall) episode last week, this one was shockingly underwhelming. Had the writers really run out of filler good ideas at this point that they couldn't deliver something better? I think the previous episode answers that. They CAN do better and so there is no excuse for this crap. Granted, it isn't their fault FRINGE is going on hiatus after this episode. The next episode was supposed to be the mid-point hiatus but baseball screwed things up. But that fact is not my biggest gripe anyway.

What did you think about this piece of shit?



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CHUCK Vs. the Business Trip - 5.04: Stay at Home, Woman


In this latest episode of CHUCK we discovered that strong women just want to have babies and stay at home while their husbands save lives. Also, there are only three Indiana Jones movies. And apparently the Star Wars prequels suck. Oh and Carmichael Industries is made up of the dumbest spies ever. More after the jump?

The story goes that Morgan is the target of a Decker-ordered assassination because he is the Intersect. So, Morgan gets de-intersected, but not before catching some throwing stars. But ruhroh, the assassination order is still alive with at least one dangerous killer! So, Morgan is benched and Chuck takes his place. Chuck and Sarah go to a Buy More thingy and stuff happens.

Look, when I really don't like an episode, I don't feel very motivated to write about it, so let me just bullet point this shit.

What I liked:
  • When Chuck and Sarah almost had their sexy time, Chuck said "Here we go" right before they were interrupted. Best delivery of the entire episode and it was most likely ADR.
  • Sarah looked hot.
  • Casey was badass at the end.
  • They actually faked us out by putting a well known actor in the episode and then not making him the obvious bad guy.
  • That baby is so adorable!
  • Big Mike's "pineapple" was one of the best subtle callbacks ever.

What I didn't like:
  • Most of the convention scenes were trite, stiltedly written like George Lucas dialogue, with acting that felt tired at best, lazy at worst.
  • This super spy team has no risk management skills. They let dumb things happen under their noses all the time. In this episode they let Morgan out of their sight right after his brain nearly fried and he went evil, so Chuck had to save him from being blowns up. Then, after they THOUGHT they had caught the assassin, who was totally inept at taking out his mostly untrained target, they let their guard down AGAIN without first putting everything on lock-down until he could be interrogated/verified. Not to mention that super spy Sarah got conned by and fell in friendsy love with the one person she was trying to find.
  • Ellie deciding she had to be home with the baby while Devon, the big man, went back to work seemed totally unrealistic and tacked on just to take one of the actors out of the equation for a few episodes.
  • Super aware Jeff, much funnier in the previous episode, once extended beyond a scene felt badly out of place and didn't add anything of substance, unless you count Lester going to jail for attempted murder substance. That's just dark, kids. I mean, he actually DID attempt murder. What will the writers be trying to say when he eventually gets out of it? It's OK to try to murder your friends when they change?
  • Sarah needing a friend when she already has Casey, Morgan, Ellie, (Alex?) and those two chicks from the cat squad. With fair weather friends like Sarah....
  • Another chauvinistic moment, when Casey took out the assassin team, even though it is also one of the coolest moments in the episode, is just another piece of evidence that the writers think Sarah is a girl who just needs a friend, a house, a man, most likely babies, and for a big strong conservative male to fight her battles for her.
  • The Alex and Morgan breakup that I have been pining for since they got together, seemed totally anemic and tacked on just to take one of the actors out of the equation for a few episodes.
  • When did Casey become such a Star Wars fan? Is Wookieepedia his start-up page?
  • Either the writer or Zac didn't know the proper Star Wars quote is "The Force is strong WITH this one" not "the Force is strong IN this one" and that should have earned this episode a 25 out of 100.

Speaking of... if I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:

75 out of 100.

I like sappy stuff. But not when it is poorly executed. Not when it is poorly written. Not when it is just there to be there to set up something in five episodes. If this show has any history at all, it is in poor setups to sappy stuff and to story arc payoffs, though they seem to do payoffs to sappy stuff and setups to story arcs well. This episode felt like it was a fan-fic and I am sure fan-fic writers everywhere love this shit, because they love what they write, and what they write sucks, like most of this episode. And professional wrestling.

Sure, I am nitpicking some things that I probably would have let pass if the episode was executed better. But it was just too cheesy, lazy, and lame for me to ignore the gaps in logic, or general suckage. I haven't even mentioned the pacing, or the plodding through the lie detector sequence. Ugh.

This was an episode written to stroke the shippers but it missed on every beat that a great episode like Honeymooners nailed. It reminded me a lot of season 4's Muuurder, that to this day I can't think about without wanting to stab someone.

I actually think I am too generous with that score. Anyway, what did you think? Comment below.



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17 November, 2011

COMMUNITY 3.08 - Documentary Filmmaking: Redux


Tonight's series finale of COMMUNITY, an homage of any number of things, but mostly the 1979 comedy APOCALYPSE NOW, continues this show's trend of being too good and too smart for the majority of viewers. And that is why it has been cancelled and its remaining episodes deleted for good by NBC.

OK, so that first paragraph was total bullshit. Because:

  1. This was not the series finale.
  2. APOCALYPSE NOW was a dark, twisted, drug-hazed drama about the Vietnam War.
  3. This was more an homage to HEART OF DARKNESS the documentary (not the book) about the making of APOCALYPSE NOW, and it was way better than the movie.
  4. COMMUNITY has not been cancelled, only "benched" for the foreseeable future.
  5. NBC has no power to delete episodes owned by Sony.

Alright, so not all of it was bullshit. This show IS too good and too smart for the majority of viewers. But is this episode good? Or is it smart? The best answer to those question is... depends on what your definition of the word is... is.

The episode drops us right into a commercial for Greendale Community College which features none other than Captain Awesome himself, Devon Woodcomb from CHUCK! As soon as the commercial ends, it is evident we are watching Abed's documentary of the making of Dean Pelton's new commercial for which the school board has given a budget of $2,000. The rest is madness.

Production Day 1
Annie is given the job of script girl, or scrip supervisor, depending on who you ask. She explains the importance of her job to the camera.

Annie: A script supervisor is the person that tells everyone to stay on script and keeps careful notes to prevent logical inconsistencies. So, basically, the star.

Dean gives different roles to each member of the study group. Troy and Britta have to hug, which at first gives us a glimpse into the uncomfortable sexual attraction the two have for each other. Pierce is likely given something to do but he storms off in protest over not getting a trailer. Jeff goes totally method in his portrayal of the dean, bald cap, flamboyance, and all. Shirley is asked to deliver happy-threatening.

End of Production Day 1 - $173 Under Budget
When Luis Guzman calls the dean about some rights issues, he offers to appear in the commercial. This causes the dean to scrap the entire shoot and start over. During the commercial break, we get a CHUCK promo! Tune in... oh wait, never you mind. It has already been cancelled. Just download it illegally. Or do what the rest of America is doing and don't watch at all, then regret having skipped it for years when you finally catch it on some random cable channel while home from work with the flu and realize that this was the greatest show you never watched and then you run off to the Internet to cry about how the fact that it only made 5 seasons is proof that people don't like quality entertainment! You know, people like you.

Day 2 of Shooting - $6,125 Over Budget
The dean has gone totally mad, going as far as shutting down classes and using the PA for casting calls. He also has upgraded to tinted glasses and showing off his man boobies. Plus, he spends 12-hours failing to get a three second shot of Troy and Britta hugging. The future lovebirds (well, if the show ever gets more episodes of course), go to Abed the man-behind-his-own-camera for help.

Britta: I'm in Psych 101 and even I don't know what's happening!
Abed: The dean is going insane and taking all of you with him.
Troy: If you know that, then do something!
Abed: I'm doing everything I can. I only have so many cameras.

Day 6 of Shooting - $9,642 Over Budget
The dean is shooting a green-screen actor pretending to be a microscope. Chang has his own bald cap.

Day 8 of Shooting - Greendale Board Checks Progress
The dean is asked to work faster. He is a madman at this point and tells them if they don't like it to fire him.

Dean Pelton: I'm surrounded by assassins. My own school's paper has turned on me. But when this is all over, I'll have a commercial with Luis Guzman in it. And all they'll have are their words, and their fears, and whatever embarrassing photos they can get from my two-faced mother!

Day 9 of Shooting - $14,125 Over Budget
Annie has now lost her mind and become a member of Dean Pelton's cult.

Annie: The dean had his seventh epiphany today which has given me an epiphany of my own. The dean is a genius. He has to be. If he isn't, I've given almost two weeks of my life to an idiot. That is unacceptable! Therefor the dean is a genius and I will die protecting his vision.
Abed: Are you by any chance familiar with Stockholm Syndrome?
Annie: Is it something that the dean created? Because if not, I don't care.

Meanwhile Jeff has gone too deep into his method and become more dean than the dean. But the real dean doesn't like how much dean Jeff-dean has become and orders him to lose the bald-cap. When Jeff refuses, bald-cap Chang, the understudy, reveals his blond-wig hair and Jeff is fired. When the production team revolts, the shoot is halted.

When Luis Guzman arrives, the show goes downhill. Why does this guy keep getting work?

Shit, someone is going to cut me now, aren't they?

Total Days of Shooting: 12 - $17,125 Over Budget
In the end, Abed cuts the commercial using the dean's and his own footage. The board likes it. Jeff has a message. The study group hugs the dean. Troy and Britta hug longer.

If I had to rate this episode, I would give it:

82 out of 100

I would have given it a higher score but Guzman brought the entire thing down and sucked all the air out of it, like he does in everything he has ever been in and WHY DOES THIS MAN KEEP GETTING WORK?! He is like the wet sponge that dark matter's bastard child uses to scrub its taint.

Someone is going to stab me, aren't they?

Goddamn I hate Luis Guzman so fuckin' much.



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16 November, 2011

NEW GIRL 1.06: Thanksgiving

So Zooey is super damn cute. And I want her to be all like romantic about me because her eyes glow in that adorable way when girls have convinced themselves they are totally in love with you, right before you sabotage it because you don't know how to be loved because daddy never hugged you and mommy blamed you for causing problems in the family so she beat you with a shoe or something. Not that it is anything like my life, just saying. That could happen to people.

So Jess asks a boy named Paul out and invites him to Thanksgiving with her roommates.

Schmidt: Jess, be honest, is the turkey named Paul?
Jess: It's a real guy. And he teaches at my school. And he's really, really hoooooooot! And the turkey is named Hank! (laughing to herself) Hanksgiving. And we are gonna eat him, so..

Jess assures the boys that she will do everything. The guys have other concerns.

Winston: Are we gonna be able to hang out with Paul, or is he also a teacher?
Jess: No, he's a total guy's guy. He normally spends Thanksgiving with his nana but she just passed away.
Nick: (sarcastically) That's a great plan, Jess. Be the girl who replaces his dead nana.
Jess: (totally unaware) I know!

As the boys worry that Paul is going to become the fifth roommate, Jess notes a more immediate problem.

Jess: You guys, don't even get up. Just enjoy your beers, this is gonna be a great meal. Just curious, does anyobody know anything about cooking? No pressure, just like cooking a turkey for example. It says you need some kind of strain.

When Schmidt offers a mildly informative tip on the process, Jess is excited and asks for more. The boys are edgy about the whole deal and Schmidt fires back.

Schmidt: Here's a tip. Don't cook Thanksgiving dinner for five people in fourteen hours. Here's another tip, don't ask a guy out on a first date on the least sexy holiday in America.
Jess: What are the most sexy holidays?
Schmidt: The most sexy holidays are 4th of July; ahhhh, Independence Day, obviously; Women's History month; and Christmas.

When Jess asks Schmidt for help he refuses, but she baits him with inviting Cece. To the objections of Nick and Winston, he cracks but declares he has kitchen control issues and doesn't deal well with being told what to do.

What is clear is that Jess is a danger to herself in the kitchen. It's also clear that this turkey is frozen rock hard solid (that's what she said?) and we are treated to a montage of Jess trying to thaw it, or force it into the oven (yes, I have had that problem before, ohhh!).

When Paul arrives early, before the turkey is even out of the dryer, Jess is looking a bit dumpy.

Jess: How do I look?!
Schmidt: It's better if you don't know.

Paul is dressed up, looking all proper and shit, but the gang quickly discovers that he is just as quirky as Jess. Nick is horrified.

Nick: Oh my god, there's two of them.

Paul's a happy fellow but Nick is a big grumpster and Jess pulls him aside to head off a problem.

Jess: I just need you not to do that thing that you do!
Nick: What thing? I don't do a thing.
Jess: Yes, you get all mean and you make that little turtle face.
Nick: Okay, I don't think I make a turtle face.
Jess: Just talk to him like a normal human being. Not about politics, or small business loans, or Google conspiracy thing, okay?!

Nick agrees to help Jess try to impress. Winston decides to play word association with Paul. The turkey tumbles around in the dryer. Schmidt and Cece discuss being sanitary. When that discussion results in the trashing of all the walnuts, Paul volunteers to go get more. However, since he is a bit tipsy, Nick is volunteered to drive him (couldn't Nick have done this by himself instead?). The two share an uncomfortable ride.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Schmidt and Cece are cooking up a storm. Cece, the naughty little bad girl that she is, knowing Schmidt's issues with being sanitary, shoves a bit of food in his face.

Schmidt: (with Cece looking at him sexily amused) What, what?! No! What is wrong with you?! Look at this recipe! Look at the recipe. Where in this recipe does it say 'put mashed potatoes on Schmidt's nose'?!

Soon after, the turkey explodes, smoking up the entire apartment. As the boys try to air it out with pillows, Schmidt makes a verbal note of the predicament.

Schmidt: It's like a Prince video!

The boys are not happy about the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Winston: Remember when there was only dudes living here and we had no fires?
Nick: This is ridiculous! Three months ago we didn't even know this girl.

When the boys decide to leave to go to a bar, Paul convinces them to stick around and eat the food they have been making. But Jess has an issue with Nick's problem with Paul and they argue outside of a neighbor's apartment as the rest of the gang listens from inside.

Nick: Does it matter what I think?! Does it? 'Cause I don't have to have sex with him.
Jess: I do. I want to. I want to have sex with him.. big time! (Paul reacts surprised inside the apartment) You heard me, big time! Okay? I wanna take him down to China Town and slice him off a piece of this pumpkin pie, okay?
Paul: (to Winston) What is pumpkin pie?
Jess: I wanna do all the things that you do in a bedroom, with him, okay? I wanna do it standing up and sitting down. And half up and half down. And the wiggly one. And the bear attack. And the claws in the head...

When Jess discovers that Paul has heard the entire conversation, she is embarrassed but survives. As she and Cece discuss it in the kitchen, her hot model friend confesses that Schmidt's earlier outburst turned her on. Apparently she is super into angry guys. If girls like this existed in the real world, I would already be thrice divorced.... but via exotic gorgeous chicks, yo. Win-win.

As Paul tunes his stringed instrument thingy, he senses hostility from Nick and decides to confront the problem.

Paul: (sitting next to him) Nick, I gotta just say something to you. I feel like you think I'm kind of annoying.
Nick: You didn't have to come here to say that, you could have done it from over there.
Paul: Okay, and if that's the case, which I don't know that it is..
Nick: It is.
Paul: I don't care. I actually feel sort of sorry for you. Because this point in your life, I know that you'll never dislike me more than you dislike yourself.
Nick: Really? That's what you're going with, Violin?

Back in the kitchen, Cece attempts to get her angry-Schmidt fix by antagonizing him. Schmidt tries really hard not to get pissed as she dips her fingers in his pudding (these things just write themselves, folks). Schmidt is not liking it but is trying to manage his temper having just misguidedly promised to never yell at her again.

Schmidt: It's so gross.
Cece: Yell.
Schmidt: I'd really, I'd really rather you not do that.
Cece: I haven't washed my hands since three o'clock and I'm gonna double dip.

But he doesn't bite. Poor gorgeous Cece's needs are not met.

Just when things are going well and Thanksgiving dinner is being served, and Paul is playing a happy tune, he discovers the occupant's rotting corpse!

Jess: Poor Mrs. Beverly.
Schmidt: Oh Miss Beverly from the mailboxes.

In the end, the gang stands in line for Black Friday at Best Buy (paid in-show advertisement!) and Paul brings sandwiches... and I suddenly feel like I am watching CHUCK.

If I was forced to rate this episode at gunpoint, I would give it:

84 out of 100.

It was a cute and fun little episode and gave me the fix I needed but missed the mark a bit in being as funny as previous episodes, and for giving no real payoff to any of the more dramatic/antagonistic moments. Still, it is a solid B.



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12 November, 2011

CHUCK Vs. the Frosted Tips - 5.03: the Intersect Problem


First of all, right click on this link and SAVE! We recorded a podcast about the last two episodes plus Chuckfest3. You should check it out when you have time... but download it now. Don't hesitate! Even if you have no plans to listen. It's not that big of a file and you will thank me later. Or curse me out. Maybe somewhere in-between.

So the third episode in the season that starts with the number five was a full-blast character funathon that reminded me why I still love this show so much. We got fun Casey and Sarah interaction; Casey and Morgan; Casey and Gertrude; Casey and Alex; pretty much Casey getting a lot to do and Adam Baldwin had a lot of fun with it.

When we last left our bunch of elite spies, we the audience had just discovered that Morgan was a traitor, having sold himself, the Intersect, to the competition. As the episode opens, we see that Sarah and Casey are on a mission of some sort and it involves Gertrude. There is some fun back and forth between Casey and Sarah, especially as Sarah tries to direct him in how to ask his mark out.

Let me just declare that Carrie-Anne Moss is great on the show. She has totally blown me away. I have never been a particular fan of anything she has done (though, that may be more about the characters than her, I don't know) but she has grabbed a hold of this part and made it her own. I totally buy into her character and how she fits into this world. Plus, Baldwin and Moss have great chemistry and I can't wait for more scenes between them.

Meanwhile, Chuck and Morgan have a secret meeting in a garage and it turns out to be General Beckman! Here we get some hilarity as Morgan greets her from the car.

General Beckman: I'm outsourcing to your team to circumvent the leak. My only condition is that no one breathes my name in relation to the mission.
Morgan: (beeping the horn and yelling) Yo, Becky! What up, baby girl?
General Beckman: (to Chuck) I told you to come alone!
Morgan: You're doing pilates, huh? You are. Don't say you're not. You are.
General Beckman: What the hell is wrong with him?!
Chuck: So many things.

The next scene has Chuck running into Alex, Morgan's once dearest love and the daughter of the man who could have snapped the bearded one in half just three episodes ago. She is upset because Morgan is no longer being the awesome boyfriend he once was and asks for Chuck's help. Mekenna Melvin is kind of adorable in this scene and I am totally falling in love. Granted, that may just be the residual Chuckfest3 splash-over where she was super adorable and I totally fell in love. Whatever the case, I'm in love and Morgan's a dick. More Mekenna, please!

Back to the spy world where Casey, having placed a hidden camera on Verbanksi, along with Chuck and Sarah spy on Gertrude's meeting where they discover that Morgan is a traitor! And when he is confronted about it, he doesn't show much remorse.

Morgan: You had the greatest weapon on the planet and you chose not to use me! That's on you!
Sarah: So you went and told Verbanski about the Intersect?
Chuck: Morgan we were just trying to protect you, that's all. Don't do this.
Morgan: It's already done. Okay, Chuck? It's too late.

When Casey tries to stop him, Morgan subtly threatens him. Casey responds by telling him that he won't let his daughter date a traitor. Morgan responds dickishly.

Morgan: Right, right, right. Your daughter. Your daughter. Sure, excuse me. Let me take care of that right now. (pulls out his cell phone) Sweet little Ali.
Casey: Alex!
Morgan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure, whatever. There you go. (Morgan holds up his cell phone) A'ight?
Casey: You text message break-up with my little girl?
Morgan: Yeah. Well, I can do better.

There is also a side story in here about Captain Awesome taking care of the cutest baby actor ever! Well, it is actually about how bored he is taking care of his kid. The guy who needs constant action can't just chill with the cutest baby ever! Just want to eat her up! Numnumnumnumnumnum!

But I digress.

Chuck starts to try to figure out what is going on with Morgan and comes to the conclusion that what he needs is for something embarrassing to happen to him to snap him out of his douchery, recalling a story of a behavioral change when they were kids when Morgan first grew a mustache. There is some fun bit of dialogue here that you should probably experience while watching the episode. But the team discovers that Morgan has stolen something from them and they decide to get it back while also pulling Morgan's pants down. It's actually a great plan.

Meanwhile dos, Captain Awesome discovers that Jeff has been freebasing carbon monoxide for a very, very, very, very, very, veryveryvery long time. He corrects the problem. If you don't know, Devon is actually my favorite character so I will take any scene with him. He was a bunch of fun last episode and continues his awesome ways here. In the end, he tells Jeff to stop sleeping in his van. This should do away with my need to write about it further.

Onto the Carmichael squad, as they infiltrate Verbanski's deepest, darkest layer, in daylight. We get Casey being badass, Chuck being a hacker, and more Morgan being a dick when he discovers that his assistant hasn't gotten his coffee right.

Morgan: (spitting up his coffee) Scotty, what is this?
Scotty: A tall soy latte with two Splendas.
Morgan: Soy? Who said anything about soy? What do you want me to do, start lactating for you?!
Scotty: I'm not sure what you mean?
Morgan: I asked for almond milk! Al-mond milk!
Chuck: (watching from a remote feed) You megalomaniacal bastard.
Morgan: Okay? Please fix it!
Scotty: Yes, sir!
Morgan: (to Gertrude) This is the best that Harvard has to offer?

When Morgan is called to train a class in martial arts, Gertrude is left alone in her office, with Casey hiding inside. This leads to a pretty great sequence where Morgan beats down one Verbanski trainee after another until only a incognito Chuck is left. This is hands down the best Morgan as the Intersect scene we will ever see. I love it. This is intercut with Casey and Gertrude having a sexy little fight in her office. Meow. These two kitties sure have chemistry.

The whole sequence culminates in the confrontation between Chuck and Morgan where Bartowski actually handles himself well, at least defensively, against Morgan's Intersect. The two then have an argument where they circle each other like two caged pit-bulls. There's even a "Lord of the Rings" reference tossed in the mix. What can I say, I love this scene too. And when Morgan is ordered to stop his former team, we get some extra bit of confrontation/fun tossed into this tasty omelet.

Let's fast forward! Somewhere in there the gang decides Morgan just needs to get in touch with his inner self to break what is most likely a Decker control in the Intersect. There is a confrontation between the Verbanksi and Carmichael groups during a mission that leads into a shoot-out and a fight, then an exploding helicopter, Casey and Gertrude kissing, and Morgan returning back to what appears to be normal. This is the only thing that bothers me about the episode, the easy with which Morgan breaks the spell he has been under. I don't know why these writers feel the need to make resolutions so simple/easy. It is almost as if they think the collective IQ of the viewers is 80.

As the episode ends, Jeff arrives at the Buy More having slept without the carbon monoxide poisoning for one night, totally clear headed and looking frighteningly normal. What does this mean for poor Lester? Casey kicks Morgan out of his apartment and the bearded bandit has to stay with Chuck and Sarah. And we are told that since Morgan announced to everyone who would listen that he was the Intersect, that there is a kill order out on him. Ruhroh! Someone wants the little guy dead! Tune in next week for more!

If I had to rate this episode, I would give it:

93 out of 100.

So, what did you think?



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SUPERNATURAL - Sam Gets Married


This is my first ever episode review/recap/whatever about this show and perhaps it will be my last. That depends on the amount of hits I get. Yep, I won't bullshit you. I'm in this for the hits!

And the ego boost. Because at the core of me, and all humans if you are honest, is being heard, seen, and recognized. But let me do more writing about the show and less about me... for now.

I have been watching this show since season 4 when a fellow LOST and CHUCK fan turned me onto it. I have had the chance to go back and catch up on the episodes I missed, and there has always been one very specific reason why I have continued to watch:

Dean Winchester.

Not Sam and Dean. Just Dean. Not that I dislike Sam, but I don't give two shits about him in the grand scheme of things. I care that Dean cares about him, and I care how Sam affects Dean, but otherwise this is the Dean Winchester show for me and that is all it will ever be... and if they ever kill him off, I will quit this show the way I quit MISFITS once Nathan left. No goodbye, no see you later, just gone like Will Hunting. But of course they will never actually kill Dean off so I guess I am stuck watching until season 20.

Having said all that, this is an episode with a focus on Sam and that's fine with me. This episode tosses Dean right into a mission of being the best man at his brother's wedding. And who is Sam marrying? Becky! Their biggest fan (from one of my favorite meta episodes ever, on any show, even COMMUNITY). Yeah, this can't possibly go wrong, can it?

It seems that Becky has a need and that need is to show off that she isn't Yucky Becky anymore, as she drags Sam to her high school reunion sign-up to impress her former classmates, Tweets about it to the planet, and uses her friend-the-witch to make it all happen. The skank!

I admit, it is a bit creepy fun watching Becky try to hang onto Sam's illusion of their love. But I don't buy for a second that Dean wouldn't have figured out the problem in 12-seconds. Dean is not just a gorgeous hunk who is superior in every way but height, hair, and sideburns to his brother, but he is also pretty smart for a walking, talking slab of mega-balls. He should have immediately grunted his displeasure, downed a keg, inhaled a dozen donuts, ravaged some burgers, and then shot Becky in the face! Thankfully, Dean isn't made to look like a total idjit as he turns up his attitude to 11 when Becky starts working a case with Sam.

Dean: Alright, listen cookie. I don't know what kind of mojo you're working, but believe me, I will find out!

Sam behaves like the little bitch-baby that he is by going all emo on his bro, but this just makes Dean more determined to put an end to the hellfest that is the Becky/Sam marriage. Dean is sure there is some kind of witchery about and that people are receiving their big dreams that result in death, and that this must somehow be tied to his sister-in-law.

After some story stuff happens, Dean and that skinny dude from those movies you saw when you were totally wasted discover that people are selling their souls to a demon but the contract is being collected on at an accelerated rate. Meanwhile, Sam is in and out of love, so he gets knocked out by his bride. Excitement!

When Sam wakes up, he is tied up in Becky's bed, missing his pants, and a horny Becky frantic about running out of love potion. Becky's insane delusions are pretty funny, especially when she substitutes Sam's muffled "Fuck you!"

Becky: (waving) I love you too!

But of course her witch buddy is a demon who wants her soul in exchange for more love potion. But she is so dense that even when he tells her there is a price, she still thinks he is her friend.

Demon Guy: Ohhohohoho, honey! That is so depressingly... Becky. I mean, it's.. you're so pathetic it actually loops back around again to cute.

But Becky isn't totally dumb for long as she realizes she is dealing with a crossroads demon who is preying on the weakness of reunionites. However, she appears to dumb it up when offered a sweetheart deal by the demon: eternal love from Sam.

When Becky returns to her bed-bound-beloved, we get a fun meta line about the show.

Becky: Well, this is not how I imagined spending my reunion. I was gonna show you off. Not that anyone actually knows who you are. SUPERNATURAL is not exactly.. popular...

Well said, Becky. Truer words... truer words.

Oh wait, here come more meta truer words from the Beckster!

Becky: Honestly, the only place people understood me was the message boards. They were grumpy and overly literal but at least we shared a common passion.

Message board reject slap-down, baby!

So Becky pretends to sell her soul to the demon but it's a setup and Dean and his brother, along with the skinny dude, ambush him. But guess what, kiddies? The demon isn't stupid and double ambushes the ambushers right into an ambush... or whatever. Obviously Dean is the first to fight back while Sam relaxes on the floor playing with his freakboy sideburns. Come on, Sam. Get in the game you lazy shit! Lucky for him, his wife saves the day since we all know Sam would have just chilled there until death returned him to the hell-rape-cell he so dearly longs for every dreaming second of the day.

But just when the Winchesters are about to win the day, Romo Lampkin shows up out of nowhere. And he doesn't disappoint, delivering one of the best lines of the night.

Romo Crowley: This isn't Wallstreet! This is Hell! We have a little something called integrity.

Apparently he isn't happy at all with the expedited soul-contracts. He also reveals that he has been keeping the demons off the Winchesters' backs to help them (or, not hinder them) in their hunt for the Leviathan thingies.

As the episode closes out, Becky and Sam annul their marriage... of course. Too bad, I think this is the best Sam should be able to get: an average looking crazy fangirl who needs love potion to get her freak on with his hippy sideburns.

If I had to rate this episode, I would give it:

82 out of 100.

It was lighthearted, meta, and fun but nothing of much substance happened other than finding out that Crowley has a horse in this race. Still, Dean was in it and that always makes for a good episode.



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FRINGE 4.06 - And Those We’ve Left Behind


I had sworn earlier this week, on Twitter, that I wouldn't write any more FRINGE reviews, but here I am.  Why?  Because I was so impressed by the latest episode that I couldn't help but write about it? I guess we will find out together. Read on.

One of the first things that struck me was that it took the writers SIX episodes to realize that they NEEDED a Peter and Olivia moment that demonstrated their love, even if as a dream. It is strange that there wasn't an awareness of the need for such a scene earlier. In any event, the scene works well to set up the entire Peter issue and the problem Walter has with his son, and the lack of emotional investment in him from Olivia (though, as I said in my last review, this makes for a weak narrative device). At least we get a scene of Peter enjoying his time with Olivia, taking time to stare at her longingly even as she seems annoyed by him. Or Olivia catching her Pacey-Poof-from-another-time being kind to strangers in his dreamy hot ways.

However, by this point, I realize that the biggest satisfaction, like in season 1, is going to come from the Walter/Peter interactions and this is where things still work. Even though Walter is trying his best to ignore Peter, the crazy chemistry between the two actors/characters is inescapable. It is actually funny how good Noble and Jackson are even as Walter calls Peter "the subject" and "it" as a way to avoid identifying with him.

The near joy Walter experiences when Peter questions his reasoning, is a perfect touch that in a matter of seconds deals with the excitement, sadness, confusion, guilt, and reality of what Walter feels about this man who is in the form of his grown-up son. And that, if I may harp one more time, is my problem with how Olivia is being written. We know Torv is capable of layered performances, but right now all she is being given is the Dumbham of season 1. Annoying!

Alright, back to the story. Apparently the Peter-problem is bigger than just being forgotten. Seems like there is some space-time continuum issue and Peter may be the cause! Ruhroh! I still maintain that all of this will end in either Peter having to kill Walter, or Walter having to kill Peter to save the universe, but I digress. So, just as Olivia begins to question why she was once having dreams about Peter, her future dearest love interrupts them and Peter starts time-jumping. Though Peter thinks this could get annoying, I dig this shit! And when we are introduced to the event instigator, I am totally in the pocket of this show again.

You don't need me to give a point-by-point of the episode but I will say that I truly enjoyed the case-of-the-week yet again, because it was performed and written well. Unlike the "you're a stranger what would I feel" moment between Olivia and Peter that felt like it was written for a shitty fan-fic. It seems that every week the writers are going to try to accentuate the love two people have for each other, as long as those two people are not the two the season is about (since Peter seems to be in the "wrong place" and needs to get back to it or some shit-that-you-know-isn't-accurate).

Otherwise, an excellent episode that represents the things I really dig about the show. Humor, heart, drama, space-time continuum, time displacement, Pacey Poof, Walter, and the apathetic look of the woman you love(d). Well, minus that last thing.

If I had to rate this episode, I would give it:

92 out of 100.



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11 November, 2011

COMMUNITY 3.07: Studies in Modern Movement


The latest episode of this totally underrated, undervalued, under-watched show, surrounds the packing and moving of Annie and her boobs from the awful place she has been living in, to Troy and Abed's apartment-of-different-timelines.

As Britta and Annie pack, we are reminded of just how scummy the area Annie has been living is.

Britta: I'm so glad you're moving out of this neighborhood, Annie. Some dude peed on my car while I was parking it.
Annie: Awwww, you met Spaghetti! Yeah, I won't miss him.
Britta: Speaking of missing people, how did Jeff dodge this bullet? Of friendship?

When Britta suggests to Annie that living with Troy and Abed means she will eventually hate them, Annie is shocked.

Annie: I'll never hate Troy and Abed.
Britta: I forgot, you're 20. Don't worry, it's natural. When you become roommates with friends, the things you love about them become the things that make you want to smother them with a pillow.
Annie: But.. that's unacceptable to me.
Britta: Then, I'm lying?

Troy and Abed arrive and reveal that they are live-Tweeting Annie's move via the hashtag #AnniesMove. If you missed this little social interaction while watching the episode, you can read it back by following the number of Twitter accounts used in this episode. What are they? No clue.

Meanwhile, Jeff is faking being sick so hard that when Britta calls him to help, he has the salesgirl at the Gap pretend she is a nurse at a hospital. The effort is impressive and shows just how easily Jeff can lie convincingly and how he uses his charms/looks to get others to assist him. It's a wonder he hasn't been able to con a real diploma out of someone by now.

When next we see Annie's boobs, Troy and Abed have used up all of the duck-tape for a goof. Suddenly Annie is worried and whisks Britta out into the hallway.

Annie: OK, there may be a slight danger that I'll end up hating them.
Britta: Man-children, can't live with them, can't leave them alone with your tape.

After Annie freaks out a bit, Britta suggests the best way to deal with the problem.

Britta: What I'm saying, Annie, is that if you're gonna live with two guys like that, you've gotta learn to go limp! Loosey-goosey. Shake, it, all, out.
Annie: (emphatically nodding her head) Limp. Loosey-goosey. Okay, new Annie! Going with the flow! Loosey-goosey! Is it loosey-goosey or goosey-loosey? Is it hyphenated? You know what? Don't tell me. I don't need to know.

Annie attempts to be cool when Troy tosses a tape gun at her and it smashes into the wall, breaking an outlet.

Annie: You broke my pluggy thing. No worries. That's what the security deposit is for. Hastag that-is-all!

As the group leaves to go to Troy and Abed's apartment, Shirley expresses her worry about what it means for three young people to live together in sin.

Shirley: I've seen enough episodes of FRIENDS to know cohabitation leads to sex, drugs, and something Parade Magazine calls Schwimmer-fatigue.

Britta and Shirley clash about her judgmental ways, but when Britta goes to leave she invites Shirley to ride with her.

Shirley: Well if this is the forecast of the conversation, I will ride with somebody else!

But when Pierce creeps Shirley out, she decides to go with Britta anyway.

Back in Jeff-world, Dean Pelton runs into him and, having learned of the Annie move on Twitter, decides to blackmail a lunch date out of the encounter.

As Britta and Shirley ride together, debating the validity of religion vs. morality, Annie and the boys arrive at their apartment and Ms. Boobs has her orientation.

Abed: Okay, to reacquaint you, there's the bathroom. The kitchen. And of course, our bedroom. And if the room's-a-rocking, please come-a-knocking, because there's something probably terribly wrong.

Poor widdle Annie soon discovers, however, that her room is a space in the apartment now covered with bed sheets for privacy. This kind of surprise could have been avoided had she first checked out the place to verify what she was moving into. A lesson for all you kids thinking about moving into a place sight-unseen.

Abed: I'm not surprised you're so taken aback. This apartment is where dreams come true.
Troy: We spent our whole lives being told that blanket forts are only for special occasions like sleep-overs and when uncles die. That's a lie, Annie. You can live in a fort of blankets all day, every night.

On top of the terrifically horrible news, the boys also tell Annie that the TV is in her dwelling area, which means they will be spending an awful lot of time there. Annie tries to go limp. Things are starting to unravel in her brain.

Meanwhile part deux, the Jeff blackmail continues; Pierce is back at Annie's apartment trying to paint and about to die from asphyxiation from the fumes; and Britta and Shirley are driving a dirty hitchhiker, who claims to be Jesus, to their doom.

Back at the new hell hole, just as Annie is totally regretting the move, Troy and Abed put on a shadow-puppet show that warms her heaving mounds of milky yumyums. What follows next is the greatest musical montage ever... on a Thursday, this season! Jeff and the Dean sing Seal's "Kiss From a Rose" as Pierce slowly goes kookoo for the Coco Puffs from paint fumes, and hitchhiker messiah sings "Jesus Loves Marijuana" to Britta and Shirley. You have to see it to truly appreciate it.

But just as Annie and her jubblies are learning to appreciate the joys of living with Troy and Abed, she finds the Star Trek holo-deck room they call the Dreamatorium, which is used for absolutely no legitimate purpose whatsoever.

Annie: All day, I've been jumping through hoops to fit in, including the literal hoops you put in front of the toilet!
Troy and Abed: (whispered) Yes!
Annie: And you guys are hording this second bedroom as some kind of play room?! And making me sleep on a pile of laundry?
Troy: Hey! We worked hard on that! And it's a blanket fort.
Annie: It's an asylum for half-witted children! As the only adult in this apartment, I'm making an ultimatum. Me or this stupid Dreamatorium!
Abed: The Dreamatorium is nonnegotiable, read the lease.
Troy: Especially the part we added in crayon.
Abed: You don't wanna take this to court.
Troy: Trust us, this place can be a courtroom in the blink of an eye.

Annie decides to move back into her old apartment (don't miss the scene where Pierce tries to kiss her!) but when she returns to Troy and Abed's place to get her stuff, the boys have given up the bedroom and moved their stuff into the blanket fort (awwww).

Troy and Abed realize that they need Annie around, especially since she is an adult and they are children who don't know how to get out stains or that treating open wounds is important.

If I had to rate this one, I would give it:

89 out of 100.

It was a good message episode with some sweet and funny moments. It wasn't one of the best episodes ever but still entertaining enough that I watched it twice. In fact, I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around. It loses some points for essentially being one of the best shows on TV so my expectations every week are HUGE. I should note, I don't rate shows based on how they do against other shows. I rate based on how the episode compares to other episodes in the series. So, an average CHUCK episode might get 85 while a good COMMUNITY episode might get the same score. I just expect more from the latter.



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09 November, 2011

NEW GIRL 1.05: Cece Crashes


The 5th episode of my new favorite show... on FOX... on Tuesdays, had another adorable skip and hop to dorkyland and I'm here to tell you aboot it. I did that aboot for the Canadian readers who otherwise have to live in a cold, empty land with free health care and Tim Hortons. That's what we call a shoot-oot.

Goddamn lame Canadian jokes! Is this what the site has become? This is almost as bad as doing a weekly SUPERNATURAL article... which will start this coming weekend! Alright, let me get to the episode.

Cece gets into an argument with her DJ significant other at a club and she is super upset about it.

Cece: I really felt Gavin was different. Didn't you feel like he was different?
Jess: Yeah. I mean he seemed like a really nice European DJ with a face tattoo.

Jess thinks she would be better off staying with her and the dudes, because what a hot super model type needs is horny above average guys who think they deserve a girl of her caliber to rub up against all night like a pack of wolves.

Back at the apartment, Schmidt has decided to wear a kimono for relaxing purposes. Winston is a bit disturbed and mockingly rips his pants off in protest and adorns himself with tissue paper.

Schmidt: You are laughing in the face of thousands of years of Samurai culture and it's an affront, Winston! It's an affront!

When the girls arrive at the apartment, Jess gathers the guys up for a little talk about her friend, totally unaware that she is giving the boys carte blanche (ooh, fancy words!) to try to get sexy like a meow meow with her besty.

Jess: Cece's really vulnerable right now and when she's drunk, she has no boundaries. So she's really grabby, really physical. She's really loose with her body. So I just wanna apologize in advance for anything she might do.
Schmidt: (trying really hard to act cool) Good to know.
Winston: Yeah, thanks for telling us.

When Jess next sees her friends, the boys have totally taken advantage of Cece's looseness (have I ever mentioned that drunk sluts are like the best thing ever? No? Should I not have just mentioned that?) and are having some kind of dance party with her. Well, except for Nick who is grumpily watching it all unfold. When Cece tries to drag him onto the makeshift dance floor, he protests.

Nick: No, I don't dance. I'm from the town in FOOTLOOSE.

When Cece gets a bit too physical and tries to rip Nick's shirt off, he suggests it may be time for her to do the sleepy time. Schmidt then sheep-dog dance-herds her drunken sexy ass into the bedroom. I have never done this... and feel deprived.

Schmidt, having herded Cece into his bed, runs out into the living-room to declare his success..

Schmidt: Yes! She is sleeping on my sheets right now. Not yours, bro! Mine!
Schmidt then proceeds to run up the wall, then tumble around the floor mumbling to himself.
Schmidt: Parkour!
Winston: (to Nick) You know what? I think I might actually have a chance with her. I just have to be cooler than that guy.
Schmidt: Parkour! (jumping up) A wise man once foretold of a magical night where I would engage in non-sexual foreplay with a model, my friends. And tonight...
Nick: Don't say...
Schmidt: (together) ...is that night!

The next morning, as Cece showers off the drunk and man-sweat from her sweet, delicate, soft like a pillow-made-of-angels body, the boys gather in the gym sized bathroom that exists only in the land of TV. Cece sticks out her head from the shower and asks if the water gets any hotter.

Winston: (flustered) Guhhh, dudud do you want me uhhh... I mean I I could, if you, if you...
Nick: I can... I'm good at fixing... yeah, I'm good at fixing, also.

Jess comes in to rescue poor defenseless babe-in-the-woods Cece from the rape monsters. When Nick puts himself in a position to be touched by Cece, Jess is not happy.

Jess: I'm disappointed with all if you, especially you!
Nick: It was a bad moment...
Jess: (whispering) I thought you were better than that.
Nick: I know, I am, sometimes.
Jess leaves, allowing the real guy talk, that all the ladies miss in the real world when they leave the room, to commence.
Schmidt: Did you see that cleavage? I just wanna get my arm stuck down there. Like 127 HOURS style. And then, and then (makes a sawing motion on his arm) sssss, sssss, sssss. I'll just cut if for days. I don't care, I'll cut through the bone and nerve (makes a breaking sound).
Winston: Schmidt!

Meanwhile, Cece thinks Nick has a thing for Jess and implants the thought into Jess' brainz that he wants to make nekkid-time with her. This freaks Jess out and causes some hilarious overreaction from her anytime Nick does anything remotely nice, caring, or just not douchie. There is a pretty funny bit in a store where Jess is trying to get Nick to stop pointing his feet at her, since Cece explained it means he wants her.

Now back at the homestead, where the air makes you choke, and people don't know you, and trust is a joke, Cece is sunbathing on the roof and Winston decides to call into question Schmidt's ability to "close." Schmidt is frightened by the roof because of a cat that roams the area.

Winston: You mean to tell me you'll let a cat stop you from all that?
Schmidt: It's a bird cat, man. It's very dangerous. Look it up, double-rabies.

Eventually Nick does one too many almost nice things for Jess and she escapes his car and runs home alone, the wrong way, frightened that he wants to butt-sex-rape her or something. Who knows, really, since Jess' brain is a tad screwy in the cabeza. When she finally arrives home, she is disturbed by the amount of hotness exuding from her body.

Jess: His feet were pointed directly at me the whole time! Did I do this? Am I dressing too provocatively? Do I need to get thicker pajamas? Maybe it's my posture. I have really sexy posture.

When Nick returns he is very upset that Jess escaped his rape-plan, or something about being concerned for her safety, whichever. Cece still interprets this as romantic feelings and tells Jess she will talk to Nick about it. Jess refuses to let Cece do any such thing and they wrestle, then talk. That wrestling bit should really have gone on longer and gotten a lot hotter. Just sayin'.

As the girls talk out their feelings, Jess let's Cece know just how different they are.

Jess: I like moving slow! I like being weird and taking my time. I'm not like you. I don't just jump in the potato-sack with the first potato that I meet with diabetes.
Cece: OK, what did you just say?
Jess: You heard me, bitch!

Why can't I meet a girl this adorkable? WHY?!

In the end, Schmidt finally gets to sleep in the bed with Cece and they hold hands and some other shit happens.

If I had to score this episode, I would give it:

85 out of 100.

It was very funny in spots and Jess was sometimes adorable while also having a good amount of weird-annoying in her that added to the quirkiness. This was more Schmidt's episode as he tried to score some physical contact with a model. Nick and Jess continue their subtle will-they-won't-they with some wacky moments. It loses some points for not being as memorable as previous episodes and falling a bit flat in the awesomely quotable category.



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