Category Archives: New Girl

TV State of the Union

 

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The second half of this TV season is upon us and so I figured that a hangover-ed morning was a great way to catch up on all of the TV I’ve missed lately. Today was that day. It’s been a busy couple of months in the entertainment industry. A lot of content to consume in order keep up with, well, everything. The award ceremonies, the water cooler talks, the artistic expressions of our favorite filmmakers, and, of course, the FOMO. After casually keeping up with my favorite shows amidst all of my movie going excitement, it seemed like the right time for a Bryan’s Not Lyin’ TV State of the Union.

While I have pared down what I watch on a weekly basis substantially, my TV time is still way above the average viewer. This includes not just what my DVR records, but sporting events, Netflix and Hulu and Amazon and HBO binges (aka my Apple TV playland), as well as the youtube videos of hilarious late night tv antics. There a lot going on and I need to see it all. It’s a blessing and a curse. Mostly a curse, sometimes a blessing. (Curse, let’s be honest.)

So below, I’ve written a few blurbs on what I’m currently watching and how I think their current seasons are fairing. Note: SPOILER CITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Not like an actual city, but there are a lot of spoilers below.)

Once again: Next Stop, Spoiler City! (Like I said, not an actual city…)

Arrow

It’s much better than last season. Much, much better. Now, it’s been well documented that fJIcdG2this show takes itself waaaay too seriously and while this season is no different, there’s a bit more character empathy. The reason? Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk. Not only is his baddie more engaging to watch then Matt Nobel’s Ra’s al Guhl from last year, but his ruthlessness and relentless raises the stakes of everything Team Arrow takes on. Some plots I’m down on (aka Speedie’s bloodlust), but mostly Oliver and Felicity’s current situation is incredibly watchable. They’re the characters I am most drawn to and Darhk brings out the most interesting storytelling.

The Flash

It’s convoluted, ridiculous, and out there, but damn is it so much fun. Every character (minus Caitlin and Jay) are clicking on all cylinders. In a way, The Flash season two has done an interesting flip flop. At first the emotional lives of the characters, aside from Barry, were shallow and based on the fact that The Flash’s secret was being kept to frustrating means. Essentially, Iris and a few other characters didn’t pop off the screen well and
the-flashseemed like filler or at least a forced obstacle for Barry and company. The fun bad guys, silly quips, and good TV special effects were the reason to stay. Now the show borders on (or sometimes crosses over into) the absurd, but it is grounded in such wonderful human moments. Now that all of the core characters know that Barry is the Flash, we don’t have any super cliched plots that just don’t read to the audience. That has allowed us to connect more with the plights of these people and be affected by their hardships. Iris and her mother. Barry and Patty. Harry and his daughter. I look forward to hanging out in Central City every Tuesday nights (and when they are in Star City for crossovers with Team Arrow.)

Supergirl

I’m really enjoying what this show is dishing out. The Berlanti DC TV shows are very strong across the board and Supergirl, in its first season, has only strengthened his hold on the Stronger Togethersmall screen comic book landscape. This show is earnest, heartfelt, and melodramatic in a way that the other shows can’t offer. Some characters are more likable than others, for instance, I enjoy an episode with less James Olsen and more Cat Grant. The addition of The Martian Manhunter through a Hank Henshaw fake out is brilliant and adds a whole new DC layer to the show that it needed. Especially to act as a mentor and foil to Melissa Benosit’s wonderful take on Supergirl. (The gchats with Clark Kent weren’t exactly cutting it.) It’s a really fun way to end my Monday nights. Jeremy Jordan is also pretty dreamy.

Nashville

Yes, I still watch it. Why? I JUST DON’T KNOW. The music isn’t as good, the plots keep getting more and more insane, but I can’t not watch it!

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It’s truly impressive how in it’s 11th season, this show is funnier, more gruesome, and smarter than it has been in what would be considered it’s best years. It’s rare for a halfstatic1.squarespace hour comedy to come back from some lesser quality seasons, but the past three seasons have done that like 30 Rock in it’s last season. Granteed, there have only been a handful of episodes so far into the season, but Mac, Dee, Frank, Dennis, and Charlie are delivering left and right. RUM HAM!

New Girl

It still consistently cracks me up. Now that the cast has been streamlined again (and the title card), it’s back to what I enjoyed before Nick and Jess got together. Semi-plotless, but new-girlso much fun and the one-liners kill. Everybody’s friendship chemistry is profoundly real and palpable. The show refound that their characters and those relationships are why the show works in the first place, so they’ve relied on that in a major way.  Cece and Schmidt together works better than any other pairing of ‘lovers’, so to have that solidified for the moment adds a lot of comic value. I love these people and the crazier Winston is, the more I love everything and everybody.

Billions

I’ve watched the first two episodes and can’t get enough of Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, and even Malin Akerman. The story itself isn’t the most engaging I’ve ever Billionsseen. If anything it’s retread of the usual bad boy, super smart hedge fund CEO and the questionably moral government employee out to get him. But simply put: the scene work, writing, and acting is top notch. As of now, I like it a lot, I just hope that it can stay the course and not become the same old same old banker vs government story.

The Big Bang Theory

It delivers exactly what it promises: nerd laughs. This season has had some extremely solid The Raiders Minimizationepisodes, all character based, which is both nice and unexpected for half hour sitcom. The types of character pieces they’re building around Sheldon/Amy and Leonard/Penny tell a much more interesting story of friendship and growth, so our time investment in these lives is rewarded. This season is enjoyable on multiple planes (or Sheldon’s favorite thing: trains).

 

 I’ll hopefully have more TV related reviews up in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Keep On Watchin’!

-Bryan

New Girl – Cruise (S3, Ep23)

In the New Girl season 3 finale, all of our favorite characters continually pointed out that Jess and Nick’s situation as being weird. While that is true, weird is also a great way to describe a few other things:

  • Coach’s incredibly hilarious fear of boats.
  • Winston in general.
  • Some of the jokes.
  • This third season overall.

I’ll get to this season after a few words on this episode, which was a perfect microcosm for imgresthe show right now. This finale, while funny in places, felt incomplete and overplayed. We’ve already seen the Cece/Schmindt dance, the lonely/crazy Winston, the Jess/Nick breakup blues, so as a finale this didn’t exceed anything we’ve viewed already for finale status. These plots, jokes, and gags didn’t play as well and overall the episode felt sloppy. In the end, nothing came together in an exciting finale way. Jess and Nick reached a coda that they’ve already hit before earlier in the season. ‘Cruise’ had an air of relief to it, as if the writers were like, “okay, let’s take a breath and figure it out for season 4.”  I just want to reiterate, I still laugh while watching the show.

This season didn’t work overall (the first half more than the second), but I understand how much of this was some sort of experiment—figuring out Jess and Nick while Coach returns new-girl-cruise-imgand Schmidt moving out. They also left Cece far behind in the dust. I can only assume they’ll figure out how to perfectly balance everybody. If next season gets back to the quality of season two (or even late season one), I’ll be happy. I still enjoy visiting these characters for a half hour every week, so I can’t wait to see them again. Even if Nick and Schmidt getting bunk beds is the thing I have to look forward to for season 4.

NitPick Corner:

  • I’m very excited for Damon Wayans Jr to be a full cast member next season because, if anything, his afraid of boats sequence with Oscar Nunez was incredible.
  • How long are they going to milk Cece dating the young guy and Schmidt letting her ‘live’ from the shadows? However, I do like that the writers are taking their time imgresbefore figuring out the Cece/Schmidt relationship again. I just wish it wasn’t as repetitive.
  • Of course Cece was looking at Schmidt like that…
  • Winston, as crazy odd as he’s become, is really funny. He’s this totally weird lone wolf. At least we know he dreams of making out with himself.
  • I want to see the footage from inside their three day cabin lockin!

I’m excited to revisit these characters, but I’m also happy to let the writing team regroup.

Keep on watchin’!

-Bryan

 

New Girl – Birthday (S3, Ep13)

Another great outing in this half of a season. It actually may be the best episode in this entire season 3. Great balance, great comedy, great cameos, and a wonderfully heartfelt ending.

The highlight for me was how much Coach and Winston have come along. The bake off was NewGirl-Ep312_Birthday-Sc13_00255-featuredperfect, so I can only hope for more contests. They two actors work off each other really well. Their competitive nature and type of comedy really made their plot work.

Cece at the bar hasn’t been a great story line, but Schmidt helping her out may lead to a more enjoyable plot development there, but we’ll see.  And then finally, Nick and Jess New-Girl-Birthday-Episode-13-Season-3-–-TV-Revieware working as a couple from a story telling aspect. The two of them were still featured as the leads this week, but never felt like they were taking over the story.

Other thoughts:

  • I love Tran.
  • Schmidt’s tag of showing his own movie was pretty great.
  • Nick was especially hilarious trying to figure out what to do with her before the party.
  • The other bar tender could be a nice addition.
  • See You In Hell, Boomer!
  • Winston being “bad” at the video. Too funny.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

New Girl – Basketball (S3, Ep12)

I really enjoyed this week’s episode as it included a nice balance of everybody. Adding e3b5027720543b7a.newgirlCoach back could have been a major issue, but they’ve been handling the screen time well.

Everybody wasn’t ridiculous and over the top, which was a nice break from crazy Winston and wacky Coach. They all seemed more or less grounded.  It was a great way to explore the fact that Coach is more of a ‘dude’ then the other guys by getting Jess involved. While his personality shifts here and there, overall it has stay pretty intact and the combination of all the different sides works here.

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Jess and Nick are weird, but it’s funny as was demonstrated in their sexy dancing and team fued.  All of the sexless nights brought on by a sports rivalry is both hilarious and realistic. Going back and forth from Bulls to Pistons and Nick not allowing her in the bed was a pretty great gag. It was, of course topped by Nick’s need to develop his throw away camera selfies.

Winston at Schimdt’s work place fell a little flat, even though it brings us to his desire to be a cop.  On the other hand, Schmidt and old Ed was pretty entertaining. Sure it was newgirl-ep313_tbd-sc19_0495predictable that Ed was going to steal the micro-marketing idea, but it all played out to our advantage.  I hope that he becomes our favorite Hebrew’s new mortal enemy. I’d be up for that. Old versus young. Schimdt versus the Warden/General Collins.

Other thoughts:

  • Cece working at the bar makes it so much easier for her to be involved in all of their conversations.
  • Coach and Nick’s conversation about the things in their heads that Jess would like was the highlight for me.
  • Jess is right. It should basketsball.
  • Anything involving Jess watching with Coach was really funny. Her cheering and commenting was pretty excellent.
  • Who knew Powerpoint could be so funny?! (I mean, I guess I knew. Never thought about it)
  • Jess’s description of her way in with all the guys was pretty dead on.

I’m pretty happy post new year with New Girl. How about you?

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

 

New Girl – Clavado En Un Bar (S3, Ep11)

ng_311-12_0071What a refreshing new start to the second half of New Girl’s 2014 run of its third season.

It wasn’t overly funny, but it was nicely balanced and semi-thoughtful.  The jokes that were included landed very well, especially from Lamorne Morris.

I know I’ve complained that Winston has been way too wack-a-do, and he has, but when it’s taken down a touch, it works.  Coach’s intensity is a great compliment to Winston’s crazy intensity.  The Winston story, from the Latvia league to his explanation of his “bridge burning” to not being able to choose a drink, he was my favorite part.

The episode was also full of wonderful little moments, such as the final one between Nick and Jess. Nick’s character can become a little unbelievable in how much he doesn’t care and that Jess actually would not be more put off by his lack of ambition.  There was an entire episode dedicated to her attraction to him when he wanted to better himself.  The last sequence and it’s bar reveal seemed to alleviate some of that lack of believability for the time being.  Additionally, I like how the two functioned as individuals, as the plot  didn’t have to be focused on their relationship.

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Other thoughts:

  • Was anybody else taken off guard that Coach randomly appeared 5 minutes into the episode?
  • I LOVED the Coach and his stopwatch story. It was a nice touch to aid in his character building.
  • Cece’s working at the bar now? Okay. Cool. It’ll be easier to write her into episodes.
  • I hope we get a lot of Brian Posehn as the bio teacher. I love his stand up, but specifically his stint on Just Shoot Me year ago.
  • Every Schmidt flashback since day one has painted such a wonderful picture of how he has evolved and it’s all very believable.

It wasn’t the best installment, but it’s an improvement over what has come recently.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

The Halfway Point

There’s only so much I can review, regardless of how much I actually watch.  Since we’ve reached the midway point of all of our favorite TV shows’ seasons, I’ll give you a quick report card of what I’m watching.

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Arrow (CW) – A

It has been pretty great this season.  Not only is it course correcting some season 1 issues (island flashback importance), it is making the hero genre fun for TV again.  It’s exciting how it is incorporating the DC universe into the action (the pretty great for TV action), as well as dealing with interesting themes.  It has taken a giant leap forward.

Bones (FOX) – C

It’s average. I stopped watching after the wedding episode, as it became my background show that I wasn’t even paying attention to at all. I’m just not engaged in their stories anymore.

Castle (ABC) – B+

Somehow this procedural knows how to keep things fresh and interesting, while still delivering the fun they promised early on.  Some episodes do fall flat here and there, but overall, it nails it week by week.

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Eastbound and Down (HBO) – A+

What a way to go out! This final season was outstanding and dealt with Kenny Powers on a human level–not just baseball.  It dealt with a man addicted to fame and showed it’s effects on his family and friends.  Also, it was freaking hilarious.

Homeland (SHO) – B

It still isn’t the great show that season one brought us, but it still delivers in certain moments.  The acting is always outstanding, but realistically the plot and pacing are suspect.  I’m hoping the finale can bump this grade up.

How I Met  Your Mother (CBS) – D+

This is severely below average.  If you read this blog, you know how down on it I feel.  If more mother was involved we might be at a higher grade.  We’ll see how this plays out over all.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX) – B+

For being a comedy so late in it’s run, I’m still amazed that it’s still this funny.  Episodes idea are brilliant, highlighted by the met-Emmy awards plot.

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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) – B

The pilot was fun, but then the show took a while to find itself.  While it still isn’t there 100%, the midseason finale was a huge step in the right direction and has given me more hope that this season will only get better.

Nashville  (ABC)- C+

It’s getting better as the season progresses, so let’s hope the drama and music stay top notch and over the top.

New Girl (FOX) – B

It’s had a rough go at it thus far, but it still makes me laugh, so I can’t complain too much.

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Parenthood (NBC) – B+

Some of the plot lines aren’t doing it for me.  Everything else always works, so it’ll iron itself out.  I do have to say, there haven’t been many tear moments this season.

Parks and Recreation (NBC) – A-

Despite the Leslie being negative episodes being one too many, the show is still as stable as ever as it continues to be hilarious.

Sons of Anarchy (FX) – N/A

I have to say I stopped watching because it’s gotten to be too much.  A lot of the plot developments only happen because actors’ contract dictate that they need to be on the show.  It just keeps going and going with no end in site.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – B+

There have been some excellent episodes this season, which is way more memorable than it’s been in the recent past.  I especially loved Sheldon’s mistake being a success, then retracted.

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The Walking Dead (AMC) – B

It’s been an inconsistent season–again.  It started strong, then lost it’s momentum when they reintroduced the lame governor. Still, the moments are great here and there, but the zombie attacks were made enjoyable.  I have a good feeling about the second half of the season.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

New Girl – Thanksgiving III (S3, Ep10)

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New Girl’s Thanksgiving episodes have always been enjoyable.  Not on a ‘Friends’ level, but they have the potential in getting there.  This wasn’t the best of the three, but a good outing nonetheless.

The balance between the characters was a little more clear, which I think has a lot to do with finding Coach’s voice a little bit more.  What helps this episode the most is making Nick the focal point, as Jake Johnson is just too funny for words.  From the first hilarious scene with Coach to the last sweet scene with everybody, Nick Miller has become this show’s rock, for better or for worse.

As the episode progressed it become way more messy, as Jess’s delirium came on way too quickly and with zero explanation.  Getting it from the fish didn’t seem to work and her getting separated in the woods with no real justification seemed stupid.  The Coach/Schmidt Cece plot definitely has some legs, especially given how good the actors are, but poor Winston.  He keeps getting throw away c plots.  Granted one of the funniest moments of the 22 minutes was his flashback to free pottery class excitement, he still is getting the short end of the plot stick.

This isn’t the best season, but the more these characters interact amongst themselves, the better the show seems to be getting.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

New Girl – Longest Night Ever (S3, Ep9)

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A few quick thoughts about New Girl:

  • I love Coach, but he’s clearly pushing Winston to the sidelines.  Damon Wayans Jr. has so much to offer, but hopefully they can balance everybody.  They are doing a better job with Coach, as they are writing to DWJ’s strengths.
  • I guess we’ve officially made Winston the crazy person we’ve all seen for the past couple of weeks.  Scene like the ones in this week’s episode make that okay with me, as he and the crazy cat lady’s comedic chemistry was dead on.
  • I liked that Jess and Nick’s relationship was treated as status quo, as their were only a few moment of it.  The mini marriage talk was pretty funny.
  • Schimdt has definitely lost some his stock as being the best character on the show, so hopefully he cheers up soon.  The car stuff was a little too much.
  • This season isn’t as strong as season 2, but it’s still funny enough for me to keep coming back!

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

New Girl – Menus (S3,Ep8)

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It seems like everything is getting better for Jess and Company.  I mean, it looks like things are getting better for us as weekly viewers of Jess and Company.

Now that Damien Wayans Jr is joining the cast full time this season, the writers have more time to figure out how to integrate him back into the group.  It worked better this week than last, but there is a still a way to go.  Winston seems to be closer and closer to the margins of the show and with the reentrance of Coach, it seems they are going to need to reel him back before he’s obsolete.

While the small bits with Schmidt worked pretty well this week, something feels off with him not in the heart of all the action.  I’m willing to see what the writers can do to incorporate him into the shenanigans while using his new apartment as a story point.

And what a weird Cece cameo this week.  Still, it was pretty funny and might be setting something up with Coach and her? Who knows, but as long as Damien Wayans Jr gets to be hilarious, I’m in!

Jess’s scenes with the Chinese restaurant owner worked really well and the final scene on the beach was really elegant.  It’s that moment in which Jess, wearing the hot dog hat, looks on at her boys, happy that they’re in her life.  It’s why we watch this show.

Oh, and HUGE props for the Jason Street joke.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

New Girl – Coach (S3, Ep7)

NEW GIRL:  Jess (Zooey Deschanel, C), Nick (Jake Johnson, second from R), Schmidt (Max Greenfield, L) and Winston (Lamorne Morris, R) welcome Coach (guest star Damon Wayans, Jr., second from L) back to the loft in the "Coach" episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, Nov. 5 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Adam Taylor/FOX

Welcome back Coach!

I am really excited to have Coach join back up with our favorite loft mates!  Damon Wayans Jr is a huge asset for any show to have and we get him back on our favorite.  While he was still written a little broad and a bit awkward fitting back in, the comedy was there and everything else will come with time. (Damon Wayans Jr is back for the whole season!)

Recently, I haven’t been onboard will all of the Jess/Nick storylines and this week was no exception.  Nick’s immature nature, when hurting other people, isn’t as funny as when it’s self deprecating.  Jess knows better than what he brings to the table, but the GF/BF titles we’re a weird thing to fight about when they had clearly made a decision.  I understand that certain friends can bring something unlike yourself out in you (Coach bringing out the macho man in Nick was funny), but it doesn’t serve the comedy between Jess and Nick.

I’m sure we’ll get more with Coach and how he needs to reintegrate back into the group.  Choosing to have him not be mad at everybody for kicking him out to make room for Winston and just plain forgetting Jess worked for his first time back.  Hopefully his return doesn’t make Winston SUPER CRAZY.

But before I stop, I have to talk about how good Taye Diggs was playing a mockable version of  himself.  He nailed it and was the highlight of an above average episode.

Bring on more Coach!!!!!

Keep On Watchin!

-Bryan