Category: Reviews and such


After watching Glee‘s jam-packed winter finale plagued by a plethora of subpar musical performances (and a few disappointing episodes leading up to it), I’m left with so many opinions about ways to improve the teen musical dramedy to its former glory that I simply cannot keep it to myself.

Let’s start off with that ridiculous cliffhanger, which ended with something we all saw coming a mile away: Quinn’s texting and driving car accident on her way to Finchel’s last-minute wedding. Once I saw Quinn driving when she received Rachel’s first text I knew that it would not end well for the Yale-bound Cheerio whose life finally seemed almost too perfect. Now, Glee is a great platform to show teens that texting and driving is extremely dangerous and even fatal, but this was not the right time because that episode was already dealing with the very sensitive issue of teen suicide as a result of bullying. Earlier that episode, we saw Kurt’s former bully Dave Karofsky outed in the locker room and, in a twist of fate for how he tormented Kurt, bullied in person and on social networking sites for being gay. Unable to cope with his “damaged” reputation and all the pain that comes with it, Karofsky put on a suit and hung himself, but luckily his father found him in time and he survived. Karofsky’s suicide attempt was also anti-climactic since it was quite obvious the former bully felt he could no longer bear to live from the montage leading up to it. (Sidebar: producers what is up with these anti-climactic surprises? Surprising tragedies should be shocking and unforeseen, take note.) Now this very serious issue was enough for the ENTIRE episode, or even better a few episodes, to revolve around it but instead it was mostly a catalyst for Finchel’s wedding and Kurt’s new friendship with Karofsky. While I applaud Glee for tackling two very serious issues facing teenagers these days, both fatal epidemics each deserve more attention to address the concerns and emotions these tragedies bring up. Needless to say, Quinn and Karofsky’s tragedies in conjunction with Regionals and Finchel’s wedding was beyond excessive for one episode.

On a completely separate note, it is time to address the big elephant in the room: the extremely unfortunate song choices for this episode and Regionals in particular. And while we’re on that topic let’s go back a few episodes and do an overall analysis of who should and should not be singing leads on a regular basis because as much as equal opportunity is great and all, I just want to hear some good singing especially when it’s a song I really like and the performance is not as great as it could have been if they had a stronger lead vocal.

Rachel is the best singer so I was disappointed she had such an underwhelming song as a solo: Halestorm’s “Here To Us”…seriously? I’m not the biggest fan of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” but damn if I didn’t think Berry sang the hell out of it at Sectionals in season one. The Troubletones’ cover of “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” was strangely weak with Mercedes hiding in the background most of the time. Santana and Mercedes have done great duets in the past but Mercedes fell flat on this one. I love Santana’s voice, she needs a solo in every episode because she has great soul and style. Overall, Santana and Blaine need more solos and Mercedes and Sam need more duets (together their voices’ sound amazing but separately they are normally just good i.e. “Summer Nights” and “Human Nature”). Furthermore, Artie should not be singing any leads (the MJ episode was overkill and very painful to me…personally), I don’t care if he was in some unheard-of boy band back in the day, his vocals are only worthy of being part of the chorus or a short rap verse, no more. The “Moves Like Jagger” mash-up had the potential to be phenomenal if Blaine was the only lead but Artie’s vocals made it downright unfortunate. Leave all the real singing to Blaine, Artie simply cannot pull it off. Basically, if Darren Criss is singing its a win so stop fighting it and give me more Blaine, he’s a star! The Warblers need another lead singer, Sebastian’s voice isn’t strong enough for him to do all the lead vocals, it has made them a significantly weaker team and therefore not a formidable opponent for New Directions. I almost wish Blaine would go back to Dalton so we can get more great Blaine/Warblers performances (I’m looking for “Teenage Dream” glory people!). And with all the fighting in previous episodes about which of the teams would do MJ for Regionals the fact that neither did it was downright shameful.

That’s my take, what do you think of the performances and how the show handled the sensitive issues?

The finale results day of Dancing With the Stars‘ controversial and shocking 11th season is upon us and as angry and bitter we still may be that Brandy exited the competition last week while boring Bristol made it the finale, we can no longer devote all our energy to griping about the robbery (as booted contestant The Situation would call it).

Last night, we saw top performances from the 3 finalists. Jennifer Grey never ceases to amaze (although we worry that her body will cease to give) scoring a perfect 60 out of 60. She not only killed in an aggressive yet sensual paso doble but also earned a standing O from Len with a hard-hitting, flips-abounding Freestyle with a Dirty Dancing theme and set to the tune of “Do You Love Me?” Kyle brought the funk and shook all the junk in his trunk with a hip hop Freestyle to “Tootsie Roll” in the style of Apolo Ohno’s winning performance circa Season 4. Even Bristol managed to step outside of her comfort zone long enough to dance inside a cage to Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango”, which was the lowest-scoring performance of the night — that was Mark’s bad for making Bristol imitate a famous jazz dance from an iconic Broadway production and movie. Did he not see the Season 9 finale when Dmitry’s “Hair” Freestyle cost Mya the trophy? Big mistake Mark, Bristol the Pistol might not be able to recover from that, even with her legions of Tea Party voters. Bristol’s performance was technically good and she even managed to get into character for the dance but it in no way resembled a Freestyle, which should be all-out fun and tricks.

The Freestyle has always been THE dance that determines the winner. The contestant who comes out with the best combination of technical precision and entertainment/fun has almost always been the one who gets to hoist the coveted Mirrorball high up in the air. If we judge the finalists on who should win based solely on how entertaining their Freestyle was, Jennifer Grey is hands down the most deserving, followed by Kyle (who came in very close to Jennifer), and Bristol in 3rd place. Poor Kyle is getting completely pushed to the side amidst the Bristol-in-the-Finale controversy but he gets major props for giving us loads of fun and enthusiasm every week. Jennifer did everything possible, this entire season and especially last night, to earn the trophy but we can’t all help but worry that Bristol’s Tea Party voting hijackers will steal the win for the “teen activist.” (I mean, was ANYBODY able to vote last night? I got nowhere trying to vote online.) In awaiting tonight’s finale, I feel both excitement (for the fact that Jennifer should take it all, hands down) and fear (for if Bristol ends up winning). Will you tune in despite swearing never to watch this show again after last week’s atrocity? You know you’re curious to see what happens…

As Emmy-worthy host Cat Deeley exclaimed Wednesday night on SYTYCD: the “Curse of Season 7” (aka injury) struck again for the third week in a row! Yes, after a serious injury took frontrunner Alex Wong out of the competition and left everyone in tears, followed by quiet contender Ashley last week, injury claimed another victim on Survivor: The Dance Off, as the show has been renamed by ExecProd Nigel Lythgoe. I almost could not believe it when in the opening sequence of the performance show on Wednesday I counted only 5 dancers and no Billy…why oh why?!

Billy Bell suffered a knee injury and though he was cleared by a doctor to dance this week, he smartly opted not to fearing that it would exacerbate the injury and jeopardize his future on the show, as well as, most importantly, his dance career. By resting his knee and giving it some time to heal, he would be able to perform in next week’s show without problem… if he made it through this week. The judges, harboring some contempt that I felt was uncalled for, underhandedly criticized Billy for CHOOSING not to dance.

Billy automatically fell in the Bottom 3, joined by b-boy Jose and the beautiful Robert. Despite landing in the Bottom 3 frequently, the judges could not have, in all fairness, sent Robert home. Robert attacked his solos and he delivered some great performances this week, although perhaps not the most memorable; personally I really appreciate a man who can samba like a pro! The judges could potentially vote Billy off because they disapproved of his decision, but why would they when Jose is so clearly unfit among all the brilliant dancers left? But the surprise of this week was not the Curse of Season 7 striking again, it was the judges’ shocking verdict in the results show—in an unprecedented move, the judges decided not to send anyone home this week.

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America’s Best Dance Crew, MTV’s reality street dancing competition, is celebrating its 5 year anniversary by having its former champions, including this year’s winning crew, dance on the same stage representing people in their respective community doing great charitable work. Poreotix, the all-male robotic dance crew with hilarious moves from Westminster, CA was crowned Season 5’s America’s Best Dance Crew last Thursday as it faced off against the masterful Canadian technicians Blueprint Cru. The special ABDC: Champions For Charity episode featuring the five winning crews, all hailing from the West, will surely be a show-stopping event. When else are you gonna have the best street crews in the country perform with each other on the same stage for your free viewing pleasure? If you haven’t seen Season 1 champions JabbaWockeeZ perform then you are seriously missing out, it is imperative that you tune in at 10PM EST on MTV for this special dance event.

Read on for information about what charity each crew is representing, courtesy of MTV.com

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The premiere of DWTS’s 10th season was very exciting with the most interesting and famous cast yet. I was ecstatic to see more difficult choreography right off the bat. Here is how I rank the 11 contestants based on last night’s performance, with the major difference from the judges being that I prefer natural rhythm as opposed to forced awkward hip movement. Evan and Nicole are the frontrunners this season (no surprise there): their movement is fluid and graceful and they nailed the choreography.

1. Nicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough (25)

2. Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya (23)

3. Chad Ochocinco & Cheryl Burke (18)

4. Niecy Nash & Louis Van Amstel (18)

5. Pamela Anderson & Damian Whitewood (21)

6. Shannen Doherty & Mark Ballas (18)

7. Erin Andrews & Maksim Chmerkovskiy (21)

8. Jake Pavelka & Chelsie Hightower (20)

9. Kate Gosselin & Tony Dovolani (16)

10. Aiden Turner & Edyta Sliwinska (15)

11. Buzz Aldrin & Ashly Costa (14)

I loved watching Derek and Nicole being dorks together in the rehearsal footage. This is an insanely sexy partnership, I can’t wait to see more, especially the Latin dances—flashback to the awesome head bobbing in the crotch move from the mambo competition that Derek and Joanna won last season. Nicole wowed everybody except for the grumpy old man, picking up the first 9’s of the season (2 9s and 1 7 for a total of 25, the night’s highest score). She was amazing, as I expected, because even though ballroom isn’t the same kind of dancing she does for PSD (in her own words: chest pumps and booty shaking), she does have experience learning choreography and that is a huge advantage. Besides, the chest pumps and booty shaking will certainly please Bruno in the Latin dances. I’m appointing her the Mya of this season, although hopefully she has a little more spunk than Mya, who was too shy and lacking in personality to claim the trophy last season despite being the most technically gifted.

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Last week on the season premiere of The Celebrity Apprentice, we saw as the men and women squared off in a challenge to see who could bring in the most money managing a diner. Even though Joan Rivers preferred the girl’s team in terms of service and food, thereby rewarding them with a $10,000 bonus, the ladies failed to bring in the big cash. I thought their $100/dish (as in burger) minimum was horrible but hey it worked (finally, after a very slow start) and they won! To Trump’s surprise, the men far surpassed the ladies bringing in over $57,000, most of which was in tips. Lucky for Chef Curtis on the men’s team, because if they lost the challenge with a world-class chef managing the kitchen (Rock of Love star Bret Michaels was officially chosen team leader by the ladies but Chef Curtis was really calling the shots) that would’ve been utterly embarrassing for the hot chef.

Cyndi Lauper, like a true team leader who isn’t in a competition, refused to blame anyone else for her team losing the challenge. In the end though, writer and comedian Carol Liefer got the boot when her teammates threw her under the bus after Trump interrogated them for what seemed like forever. While it wasn’t clear that Carol in particular was the weak link in the group (her skills may not have been a perfect match for the task at hand), I think the ladies didn’t put the blame on scatterbrained team leader Cyndi Lauper out of respect for her A-list starpower. Firing Carol was the best option at that point since it would have been difficult for her to work well with her teammates after they ganged up against her in the boardroom.

Can you even identify Carol in the picture? More interesting celebs I say!

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If you aren’t watching Parks and Recreation by now then you must not enjoy laughing. I can’t believe I have to even write this but if you are one of those unfortunate souls who is missing out on the fun…Parks & Rec is a mockumentary style comedy on NBC about the Parks and Recreation department in Pawnee, Indiana. After a slow first season, the second season delivers week after week with awesome writing, acting, editing, and character development. The series stars SNL’s Amy Poehler as the ambitious and kindhearted Leslie Knope with a fantastic supporting cast, particularly Aziz Ansari as Leslie’s right-hand man Tom Haverford.

Stand-up comedian Ansari is priceless in his breakthrough performance as the suited up, self-serving, sarcastic underachiever Tom Haverford. Haverford, much like Barney Stinson of my other favorite comedy HIMYM, is also obsessed with getting booty. The difference is that unlike Barney, he fails miserably. At least Tom can always count on some (paid) lovin’ from his ladies at the strip club.  Guys, watch this video of “The Haverford Method” so that you know what NOT to do when picking up ladies.

While I would love to write a whole essay about this brilliant show, I wanted to highlight a line in Thursday night’s episode that made me crack up hysterically for 30 minutes. It involves Leslie impersonating Tom making fun of Jerry falling in a creek for a burrito. Sounds AMAZING right?! But first, a recap because the whole episode was hysterical as usual and deserves a long post in my uber-professional blog.

The “Park Safety” episode was, ummm, Jerry-heavy. Jerry is the employee in the office that everybody makes fun of. He’s chunky, he’s clumsy, he mispronounces words in the strangest way (“twout”), he farts at inappropriate moments (yes anytime you’re in public its inappropriate to fart but he picks the very worst times); he vacations and has a timeshare in Muncie, Indiana of all places. He just has a shitload of badd luck and is an unfortunately un-cool person.

At the beginning of the episode Jerry gets “randomly” picked to refill the hummingbird feeders in the park. He ends up at the hospital with a dislocated shoulder, which he claims happened when he was mugged in the park. After his “mugging,” Leslie makes everybody in the office be nice to him, as in not crack jokes at his expense. But OMG does Jerry make it really hard for them. Upon returning to the office he proceeds to do a presentation, except that the whole segment just consists of all the embarrassing things that make Jerry the Butt of the Joke, including splitting his pants straight down the ass-crack and some burrito farting. Watch video clip here.

Leslie embarks on a crusade to improve park safety employing the assistance of the Head Park Ranger. SNL’s Andy Samberg guest stars as Carl the LOUD Park Ranger, emphasis on the LOUD, as in he is so LOUD that he was reassigned to a job outdoors because he does not have an inside voice. Leslie and peeps visit the site of Jerry’s alleged mugging riding on the only golf cart left standing, the one coated in raccoon urine, after a series of unfortunate events—apparently the Park Rangers (like Jerry) are not a lucky people.

To get media attention on the park safety issue, Leslie makes an appearance on the local TV show Pawnee Today from Pawnee Public Access to talk about Jerry getting mugged in the park. “Who’s next? Your frumpy uncle, your simple neighbor, your unpopular coworker?” This prompts City Hall to allocate more money for park safety. Jerry decides to wait until the press conference to confess the truth about his mugging to Leslie: he didn’t get mugged but rather dislocated his shoulder when his burrito fell on a log in a creek…but of course Jerry couldn’t let that stop him from consuming a perfectly good burrito—he reached for it and fell into the creek landing on his shoulder. Jerry didn’t tell the truth because he was too afraid of how Tom would make fun of him. Quick cut to Leslie doing a genius impersonation of what Tom would’ve said, complete with sarcasm, fake big-ass smile, and Tom’s classic “Damn….”:
“Damn Jerry, you jumped in a creek for a burrito! What would you do for a Klondike bar, kill your wife?”

Shout-out to the classic slogan in the Klondike commercials: What would you dooooo….for a Klondike bar?

I was literally dying of laughter for the longest time after that. And if you don’t think that joke is funny then you do not grasp how spot-on that impersonation was. Earlier in the episode, Tom makes a Winnie the Pooh reference when he asks Jerry: “Did you throw out your shoulder trying to swing a honey pot off your hand?” Later, he says behind Jerry’s back: “He needs a lot of support… I’m talking about a bra for a man.”

Shortly after the press conference, a citizen turns in a video of Jerry’s burrito mishap to the LOUD Park Ranger. The hilarious home video clip, available here, also shows Jerry refusing to share his wet burrito with his dog.

At the end, the office celebrates as Jerry gives them permission to tease him after another amusing Jerry accident. Leslie claps, “Making fun of Jerry is back!” What a relief! It didn’t feel right in the office for them not to make fun of him.

Other noteworthy moments:
•    Everybody submitted Jerry’s name instead of their own for the Hummingbird lottery. Even Leslie whose moral compass is always pointing north placed 20 Jerry’s to counteract her 1 Leslie.
•    Ann paying Andy more attention and saying he never did something nice for anybody, including her when they were dating, like he is now doing for April.
•    Jerry’s dog is named Lord Sheldon.
•    Ron teaches everyone self-defense. In one practice exercise, Ron engages Andy in an attack hold (more like a hug from behind), Andy tries to break free by flailing his neck around like a raptor, and subsequently passes out.
•    Ann watches too many Lifetime movies, and not the good ones either. Yes there are good ones, haters!

How awesome is Parks and Rec? If you are one of those unlucky folk who have been missing out, will you start watching now because if you don’t you are basically as un-cool as Jerry. The full episode is available here. Parks & Rec airs on NBC Thursdays at 8:30 before The Office.

I don’t usually write about Mercy, the nurse drama on NBC, but this week’s episode was so evidently “inspired” by one of my all-time favorite shows Jersey Shore I had to. Frankly, I’m kinda surprised it took the writers this long to spoof the hit MTV reality series considering Mercy Hospital is located in Jersey City, NJ. However, I think they made the right call because the way they were able to use the St. Patty’s day episode to pit the young Irish-Americans against the Italian-Americans was hilarious. The best thing is how the writers managed to exploit as many elements of the Jersey Shore stereotype as possible. Try to keep count as I recap what happened whenever the Jersey Italians were on screen.  

The nurses walk into the ER at the beginning of their workday (we are told sometime before 11am) to find the ER flooded with Jersey Shore-type guidos and guidettes fighting with lots of Irish peeps, all of whom have clearly been drinking. Given the reputation we saw on Jersey Shore that young Italian-Americans like their liquor, they of course had to partake in the drinking holiday. The Irish Americans took issue with Italians celebrating an Irish holiday and they all ended up in the ER with non-serious injuries they sustained while fighting each other at the bar. The nurses and security had to break up several fights between the (already injured) dueling groups as they wait in the ER for approximately 5 minutes.

Of course, the Italian crew is all done up and put together with some serious tans and bling. The girls wear tight clothes, big hoops, big hair, high heels, and heavy makeup. The guys, who are all fit and fancy themselves real tough guys, sport tight sweaters with popped collars and the zipper down to reveal their wife beaters. Larry, the head guido, also has diamond studs in both ears and gelled up hair, although I wouldn’t really call it a blowout, its a little too tame for that.

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This isn’t the Wild Wild West as depicted in those legendary cowboy flicks. New FX series Justified centers on a US Marshal who fancies himself a lone cowboy in a modern-day world, even if it is rural Kentucky. US Marshal Raylan Givens, played by Timothy Olyphant, seems to have been born in the wrong century. Raylan has his own interpretation of the law whereby bad guys have 2 options: 1. Get out of town and never return 2. I (as in Givens) will shoot you dead before you can even blink.

He makes a point of telling the bad guys who threaten him that if he draws his weapon he shoots to kill. Inevitably, this approach lands him in many a pseudo-duel situation. He seems to have some kind of death wish as he constantly dares criminals to shoot him. But of course, they are either too scared or too slow because he draws his weapon and shoots before they can even pull the trigger on the gun they already have aimed at him. At the beginning of the episode, this rule of his gets him reassigned from Miami to his native Kentucky. Apparently, shooting a criminal on site has been banned for over 100 years, so like I said – wrong century.

Once in Kentucky, he gets assigned to the case of a white supremacist that they believe is responsible for a string of bombings and robberies, but they can’t find evidence to convict him of anything…that is of course, until Raylan comes along. The man in question, Boyd Crowder, happens to be Raylan’s coal-mining buddy from back in the day when they were teenagers. The guy is a miserable human being but he is smart (he makes up some brilliant and unexpected game plans) and speaks eloquently so as to be able to lead a team of thugs. Boyd, played by The Shield’s Walton Goggins, leads a group of neo-Nazi skinheads who do bombings and bank robberies, usually one after the other so that the police are too busy tending to the explosion when they rob the bank. It goes to show you how two men with a similar past can end up at completely opposite sides of the law.

Boyd is a very worthy adversary for Raylan, using Raylan’s own shtick against him—he threatened Raylan to get out of town in 24 hours or he’d shoot him. Blah blah blah, really cool stuff happens, then Boyd re-enacts the duel from the beginning of the episode. But he didn’t except his sister-in-law, who just killed her abusive husband the day before, to point a rifle at him so now we have a 3-way duel. Raylan is the only one with his weapon still in his holster but of course this is no sweat for him and he gets the first shot in anyway, because he’s just that good. Fortunately Raylan purposely misses shooting Boyd in the heart. I was relieved Boyd didn’t die, he is extreme and evil but he is an awesome villain, too intriguing a character to kill off so soon. If the writers and director keep Boyd as a recurring character, he is going to be the villain we love to hate.

Raylan’s style is so laid-back and calm that it makes the show seem rather slow-paced but keep yourself from trying to multi-task as you watch because there is a lot of great acting, dialogue, and plot, all of which you can’t pick up on if you aren’t paying close attention. The dark and twisted Raylan Givens is very much the main character but the supporting characters we have seen seem very promising, I’m looking forward to see how the writers develop them.

As far as modern-day westerns go, this is as good as it gets. Plus, Olyphant is super-fine! Even male writers everywhere have a man-crush on him!

JUSTIFIED airs on Tuesdays at 10pm on FX

I am not kidding. She and her two close friends traveled to Thailand in the premiere of her docu-series The Price of Beauty on VH1. One of the customs in Thailand is to eat insects because it speeds up your metabolism. After much coaxing, Jessica and her friends each eat a worm and immediately gag and almost puke for 2 minutes thereafter. It was hilarious! They said they could feel the legs on their tongue and the middle had a gooey liquid. I would gag too, nasty!
The insects were one of several comedic reliefs in the episode, which also had emotional moments. In particular, the heartwrencher was when Jessica is introduced to a woman, a former singer, who used whitening products on her skin and now her skin is permanently damaged with random blotches of pale skin over her dark skin. Jessica was moved to tears and as a viewer it also pulled at my heartstrings because this woman is now shunned by society.
Another funny moment was when Jessica and her friends ride on a tuk-tuk, a motorized rickshaw with no doors and the primary mode of public transportation in Thailand, to get around the city. I found it extremely amusing because I ride on something very similar in Peru all the time but we call it a taxi cholo. The main difference I saw is that most taxi cholos have doors, albeit unsafe but you don’t feel as much like you’re going to fall out. Here are pictures of the two for you to compare for yourself.


In this new show, Jessica is portrayed as a much more mature person than who we saw on the Newlyweds although she most definitely has not lost her sense of humor. We can watch her on this life-changing journey, and she doesn’t make it come off like a joke or completely serious either, it’s a nice balance of both, which makes for good TV. I like this show, its enjoyable and informative. Next episode is Paris, I ❤ Paris!