#ConStarClicks: Learn to Talk Like a TV Writer [GQ]

ConStar Clicks: Learn to Talk Like a TV Writer – GQ

True ConStar Clicks posts are returning in June (if all goes according to plan) but here’s a cool article I’ve been reading (and memorizing) about words TV writers often use in the process of putting an episode together. It seems to be mostly focusing on TV comedy jargon.

Some of my favorites from the piece:

  • Button – I prefer button to blow.
  • Chuffa
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Hanging a Lantern – I learned this on TV Tropes. If you’ve read my About Me, you know I love me some TV Tropes.
  • Schmuck Bait

Click through to find out what they mean.

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Link: How To Make It As A Black Sitcom: Be Careful How You Talk About Race

Link: How To Make It As A Black Sitcom: Be Careful How You Talk About Race on Huff Post Black Voices

Several people have sent this to me and I want to share it here. I haven’t been able to dissect it just yet, as it’s a long read, but it looks to be a really, really in depth piece discussing several decades of black sitcoms and comparing their successes and the ways in which they handle race. All of this as black-ish finds its legs and receives a full season pick-up.  There are some great graphs and discussion of a proposed “era” system of black sitcoms from the 50s until now.

 

Check it out.

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Mulaney

So I know this show was slated for last season’s pilot season, so maybe that contributed to how I felt about it, but I was SO disappointed. Mulaney’s acting was a bit stilted (explained, I guess, as a character trait?), Nasim Pedrad’s character was funny but unfortunately terribly written and one dimensional in the way she was obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, and the black sidekick literally couldn’t get a joke out. His character couldn’t find a punchline. It was too on the nose for how the show seems to make a splash but goes nowhere. The Seinfeldy stand up bits were okay, but not seamlessly tied in OR completely removed the way Seinfeld’s were. They felt a bit abrupt.

The characterization was so lacking. Neither of the sidekick characters had anything other than that episode’s schtick; no real jobs (the black sidekick is also a comedian) or goals or backstory. Only Mulaney’s character, in his job working for Martin Short (who didn’t really grab my attention), had any kind of arc given to him. Nasim worked really hard with what she got, I enjoyed her performance, though not the ridiculous caricature of a character.

Also, there’s a random Ice-T voice over at the beginning explaining “This is filmed in front of a live studio audience.” Very 90s, which might’ve been the point, but also feels different than any other modern comedy on TV and not in a good way.

I’m hoping that because this show is two years old, it means that Mulaney and the writers were able to tweak the things that aren’t working in the pilot. Maybe it will still have the 90s multi-cam feel to it, but perhaps it will be smarter and have better characterization. Maybe Mulaney will be more relaxed as an actor. It’d be nice to see this do well, if just for the fact that it was stuck in development for so long, but I’m not sure on this one.

Verdict: I might watch episode two to see if the writing has changed, but I’m not sure this is gonna remain in my line up. Here’s hoping episode 2 is two years improved.

ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Cristela

I was wonderfully surprised by Cristela. It started off rough and I felt like my low expectations were being met during the first 20 seconds: Cristela walks in the room, her mother says something that’s not funny and the laugh track kicks in. It was a bad omen. I groaned aloud. I face palmed. But once it moved past forcing the first laugh, it legitimately made me crack up.

The character dynamics are on point; Cristela lives with her sister and brother-in-law, mother, and her niece (was there a nephew as well? I can’t remember). The mother was grumpy and old country, the brother-in-law hates Cristela, the sister is sexy and loves her family (clearly since she lets both her mother and her sister live in her house). Simple character traits that will define their relationships with each other and provide nice plotting.

Cristela, herself, is ambitious, but not easily so–it’s taken her six years so far to get through law school–but she’s in there and she’s not giving up. She likes sports (go Cowboys), makes friends with the adorable, inept Jewish fellow intern, and both stands up to but makes an effort to learn from her new (racist) boss. Which I hope they deal with a little better than they have so far, but they can’t squeeze everything into the pilot and most times in the world, you have to suck up people’s racism until you have the power to put them in their place–which she definitely doesn’t have yet.

The show is funny, so hopefully they don’t rely too much on forced laugh track gags like the very first one, and I think it has heart. Obviously it’s comparable to the George Lopez show, which I can’t remember well enough to really say if that’s going to help it or hinder it. The weakest part of the show was Gabriel Iglesias’ character—who seemed forced in because he’s a famous Latino comedian and who didn’t add anything to the show but weird sexual advances towards an uninterested Cristela. Hopefully they realize they don’t need his famous face.

Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised; I’m keeping it on my fall calendar.

Upfronts 2014: Black-ish

Could this be the return of the black sitcom?

This is the question on everyone’s minds as the Laurence Fishbourne/Anthony Anderson comedy gets slated for ABC’s post Modern Family time slot. It’s definitely a strong lead-in, both because of Modern Family’s consistently high ratings and Emmy nominations as well as being similar family programming. Check out the teaser trailer below:

Based on Barris’ own life (loosely), Black-ish will follow an upper-middle class black man, intent on raising his kids with some sense of cultural identity, in the face of an assault of constant contradictions and obstacles coming from various directions, insisting that his children be color-blind.

decided to do this project when I looked up and realized that everywhere I go I’m constantly the fly in buttermilk… I’m usually THE Black guy at work. We’re THE Black family in the neighborhood. My kids are basically THE Black kids at school. I think it’s kind of a situation of be careful what you wish for. It’s almost in like moving on up, I’ve sort of priced myself “out” of being Black,” said Barris.

The show makes me both excited and nervous. I’m excited to see a black family on television. I’m even more excited to see a black family in a single camera sitcom (has there been one? I can’t think of one  Everybody Hates Chris was one!). But oh boy am I nervous. As a person who is often not seen as black because of the things that I like and the way I speak and the education I got, and as a member of the Black Girl Nerds community and seeing a lot of other people who struggle with being called “oreos” or “not black” and often being the only black person in your work/school/extracurriculars, there are a lot of sensitive issues to deal with. As long as the show deals with being black in a middle class environment without the characters losing their identities as black people.

The title alone is a little worrisome–black-ish implies that through their middle class lifestyle, they’re not fully black, only a little black or sort of black. Just because they have Jewish friends or hang out in affluent neighborhoods shouldn’t take away from the fullness of their blackness. It sounds like the character “insisting his children be colorblind” means that 1. they accept everyone regardless of their background and 2. the struggle the father endures through the series is that the children should be allowed to be who they are and like what they like with it having no reflection on how “black” they are. That’s not the kind of colorblindness we should have, but is often the kind we get: accepting characters regardless of their color but erasing any ethnic identity they have. I don’t know if I am explaining things right or if it’s truly the measure of how I believe things should be. Again, it’s sensitive issues and hard to define or draw the lines, but hopefully the team behind the show address these issues with comedy and class. Maybe the title was just a catchy way to express what the show is about.

So I’m excited! I’ll definitely be checking it out; I hope it’s funny and strong and I hope I can relate to the characters, as their experiences already speak to mine. But I am also nervous.

 

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Maya Mondays! – Maya Rudolph Gets Her Own Variety Show

Maya Rudolph Talks Being Able To Do Whatever She Wants On Her New Show (Video Interview)|Shadow and Act

Revisiting the classic variety show format, The Maya Rudolph Show will feature guest stars Craig Robinson, Andy Samberg, Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, Sean Hayes, Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin, and others.

Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Janelle Monae will serve as the musical guest. R&b singer-producer Raphael Saadiq will be the bandleader.

via Maya Rudolph Talks Being Able To Do Whatever She Wants On Her New Show (Video Interview)|Shadow and Act.

This, I am excited for. I didn’t watch Maya too much on SNL (most of my favorite former SNL stars, I never actually watched them while they were on it… weird), but I did watch her on short-lived sitcom Up All Night. On Monday she gets her own variety shows, which might be a primetime mix of SNL type sketches, musical numbers (Maya has sung on SNL and is daughter of singer Minnie Riperton), and musical performances. Having Janelle Monae on her first episode proves to be an awesome move right out the gate, as well as getting Raphael Saadiq to be bandleader. I think this will bring a fun R&B flavor to the show–much like Jimmy Fallon’s decision to have the Roots as his houseband.

Hopefully the show does well, so that we can 1. have more Maya Rudolph 2. Have more lady comedians on TV 3. Have more black female comedians on TV. Tune in Monday at 10pm on NBC. Hopefully the hashtag will be #MayaMondays because it’s pretty perfect.

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Upfronts 2014: FOX, NBC what are you doing?

Let’s start network-wide. Fox and NBC swapped for me in the past year, NBC going from a favorite, most watched network, to me having one show next season (the mid-season, finale season Parks debacle…). While FOX went from me abandoning several of it’s shows due to reordering episodes and demanding stasis in characters that achieved character development to the network I have the most shows I am interested in this fall. And FOX pulled me in with the commitment and success in diversity. So let’s talk about what they’re doing this fall.

NBC– honey, what are you doing? They’ve cancelled most of their comedies, leaving Parks and Recreation, their current longest running sitcom as a mid-season replacement in it’s finale season. According to the schedule listed in the link on Vulture, there are only 4 comedies on the schedule, split between Tuesday and Thursday 9-10 comedy hours. What? Has NBC given up on reclaiming it’s must-see-tv fame? I suppose it wasn’t working, but it kills me that not one of the four comedies is Parks. What a way to alienate your little comedy fanbase. Why not use Parks and the final season momentum to pull your existing fans over to new shows? You now have to do the work to get non-NBC comedy watchers (those who didn’t watch 30 Rock and Community and Parks in the hey-day of low-rated but cult favorite comedies). I suppose they no longer want those fans. They want new ones entirely. Or they’re trying to sustain the network on the Voice, Dick Wolf, and the Blacklist until they figure out something that works. But, to me, it doesn’t seem like they’ve found the formula yet. I’ll see you mid-season, NBC, when you put Parks and Recreation back on the schedule. (Let’s face it, it’s a cancelled-new-show replacement. As soon as one of the new comedies fail, they’ll stick Parks in the 9pm comedy spot until the rest of the season is done. More on Parks later.

 

 

FOX, homie, you’re doing a lot of things right, but one thing feels very wrong. I will be watching seven FOX shows this fall. That’s more than any other network and more than I’ve ever watched FOX. They’ve been getting some good, diversely cast comedies in these past couple of seasons. New Girl confirmed Damon Wayans Jr as the 6th member of the cast, rounding them out to Friends proportions, The Mindy Project had a strong finale with lots of possibility, and Brooklyn 99 came out of the gate with comedy, diversity, and heart. So why are they sending Brooklyn 99 to the Sunday animation slot?! It seems ridiculous to me. Vulture says,

There’s logic behind this year’s changes: Family Guy is pretty much a multi-camera sitcom that happens to be animatedand Mulaney is multi-cam; Brooklyn is sophisticated single-cam that could mesh with the sensibility of The Simpsons. And once Fox picked up both Brooklyn and The Mindy Project, it was obvious one would either move or wait until midseason: Fox simply doesn’t have the comedy strength to support a two-hour sitcom block on Tuesdays.

But that seems absurd. I definitely think they could sustain it. But even if it can’t, splitting the comedies into the animation block disturbs something that’s been working on FOX for years now. Animation fans won’t necessarily hold up these fresh comedies and when was the last time comedies aired on a Sunday night?! This makes me nervous for both BK99 and Mulaney (which I may watch), because they’re basically hiding it in the schedule. No one looks for comedies on Sunday nights. That’s typically a Feature film, Sports, Drama night. FOX made success with animation as alternative programming to this trend, but this upcoming change might break both the animation block and the comedies they want to succeed. Sigh. There are few shows I want to succeed more than Brooklyn 99. I hope they just suck it up and block the comedies together.

Schedules change, often by November sweeps when networks figure out what’s working and what’s getting cancelled. So we’ll see if this remains the schedule for the fall. But both networks are boggling my mind.

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Briefly Discussing SNL’s New Cast Member

And (UPDATE) newest staff members, two black female writers.

I didn’t want to have a lot of words on this, since everyone else will, but people have been asking my opinion on it, so here are my thoughts on Sasheer Zamata being cast as SNL’s newest token black cast member– black female comedian (neither is much better is it?). I had more thoughts than I thought I would.

via Sasheer Zamata’s Twitter

I know nothing about this girl, so this opinion has little to do with her or her comedy style. I sincerely hope she is great and has a great time and it leads her, whenever she is ready, to bigger and better things. But SNL hasn’t solved the problem. This hire really will only highlight more problems. What about comedians of other races? Will SNL only cave to include an Indian or an Asian after those communities raise an uproar? What about SNL’s non-acting writing staff (the cast and featured players aren’t the only writers, as far as I understand–perhaps I am wrong), how diverse is that group? Is the placement of this hire a ratings stunt for the traditionally slow month of January?

I worry also about featured player dynamics now that Sasheer has been chosen. The newbies on SNL are all currently fighting to get as much sketch/screen time as the main cast. Is Sasheer on featured player level, or main cast level? Either way, the show is gonna have to use her often, if only to prevent backlash of, “oh you hired her but don’t let her do anything.” Hopefully this opens up the writers’ sketch ideas in what they can include (non-drag Oprah and Michelle Obama will be a nice change of pace), but will those other writer’s write appropriate sketches for a black character?Some of Kerry Washington’s sketches were seen as problematic, if not on their own, but mostly because the issue was so hot then. If the show was known to have black writers/cast members as apart of the team, those sketches might not have had such unfortunate implications. To be specific, I’m thinking of the fact that Kerry played a lot of “ghetto” girls in her sketches, even the digital short. Kerry on SNL

Part of Jay Pharaoh’s failure as a successful main cast member is that he did great impressions, but once he did them, what was left? The ones we’ve seen become unfunny if done every time you’re in a sketch. His original work left much to be desired. Will Sasheer be relegated to those kinds of characters–ghetto girls and black female celebrities–without allowing her to broaden her range and play the straight man in a sketch or play a (quirky) character that has no ethnic implications?

Only time will tell. All I know is that Sasheer’s first (and probably second) episodes will be some of the highest of the season–the normal crowd will be watching, as well as critics (both positive and negative) of the choice, as well as “Black Twitter,” which has shown itself to be a force to reckon with. The black television audience is larger than networks give us credit for and the success of Scandal and even Sleepy Hollow have shown that black women will watch a television show with a black female character (even if just to hate on it) because we are so starved for representation. The rest is up to the writing, which SNL has been suffering with in the past, but hopefully some new blood will raise the quality of the writing as well.

UPDATE: http://splitsider.com/2014/01/snl-adds-two-black-female-writers/ SNL has also hired two black female writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, to add to the staff. This certainly alleviates concerns about the treatment or Sasheer’s characters. As long as they can 1. fight to shut down sketches with unfortunate implications and 2. not be sidelined to only write sketches Sasheer is in… but right now, SNL is seeing our concerns and circumventing them, so here’s to hoping! Even more reason to watch SNL when it returns… They really will be some of the highest rated of the season I am sure.

Lena Dunham Hilariously, Candidly Interviews Mindy Kaling

Lena Dunham Hilariously, Candidly Interviews Mindy Kaling

“Sometimes I get jealous of white male showrunners when 90 percent of their questions are about characters, story structure, creative inspiration, or, hell, even the business of getting a show on the air. “

 

ConStar Watches Parks and Recreation “Gin It Up!”

“Your heart’s in the right place. Your heart and your butt.”

I’ve honestly forgotten why Leslie was being recalled in the first place. I know it’s Jamm’s fault but what was the “reason”? I know it doesn’t really matter, but I definitely forget what the exact catalyst was for his hate.

TATIANA MASLANY! Tom in her face was a GREAT moment. WHY did he switch into a British accent (besides the BBC America reference, I suppose). I can’t wait for more Nadia/Tom, because she thinks he’s really weird but then she says things like “Jet Blue Ivy” and we all (Tom included) discover there is something there that could draw them together. Hope she gets to stay for a while.

This was a great Ron story. It was nice seeing Ron and Ben interact; we know Ron loves Leslie, but it’s nice to see him extend that sentiment to Ben in his own way. Making Ben and Leslie the godparents to the kids is so wonderful (I wish I’d been able to see Leslie’s reaction to it), because you know they’d do their best to raise them the way Ron would have wanted. But Ron will only die by the man who understands the symbols on his first will. So he’s safe.

I’m happy we got a Donna-centric episode. I can’t remember every getting one, and if we did, it’s been a long, long time ago. This was the perfect plot for her. Retta played sheepish Donna really well (it was kind of adorable). I hope we get more Donna-centric episodes, because she’s the Parks Department member that gets the least amount of screen and story-time. Even Jerry gets more screen time than she does.

I need a Leslie Knope so someone can get me presents at every turn.

As usual, Parks episode posts are mostly quotes, because this show is just so funny.

“That folder in my hand is deadlier than his bow in yours.” “Oh thats… probably true.”

“What are these weird symbols?” “The man who kills me will know.”

“We’ll be all set, like two biscuits inside a tin.”

“Obviously accountants are a little more bad-boy.”

“I’m going to say this one last time Wyatt–check that accounting crap at the door.”

“Are you a doctor? Somehow?”

“I’m going to keep her here using the most powerful weapon I have–beaurocratic incompetence!”

“Another word for jokes is lies. I do not lie.”

“isn’t language fun? it’s like racquetball for your mouth!”

“Jet Blue Ivy”

“We need to talk.” “That has never been true.”

ConStar Watches New Girl “The Box”

I’m pretty sure this is my least favorite episode of the season. I couldn’t pin point why, but some other TV writers expounded on some of the problems where I couldn’t.

I think my initial problem was that it was the least funny of the episodes so far. Not to say I didn’t smile or laugh at some of the lines or Jess diving under Nick’s bed, but overall, it fell flatter than the other episodes. I wanted to say it could have been because of the heaviness of Nick’s outrageousness and the fight with Jess, but even when I’m hating Schmidt for being the douche we always knew he was, the episodes were funny as well.

From the beginning, when Nick get’s this influx of cash, I was reminded of a few episodes ago, when he wished he had money to take care of Jess and give her the things that he wanted. I get him not wanting to pay his bills, but it might have been more in character for Nick to try to spend all that money on Jess (and to have her say no, pay your bills, and do exactly what she did in the episode). Instead, he becomes really selfish, which is a typical “I’ve gained a lot of money” plot, when we all know he aches to give Jess better and to sort of prove to himself that he is worthy of her. Spending the money on Jess would have created the same reaction in her, because she’d want him to pay his bills. (And as someone who wishes I could just put my bills in a box (and sometimes kind of do), I would be appreciative if someone did it for me. It’s not that I don’t want to, but sometimes the burden of responsibility comes upon me and it’s too much and I want to hide. If you wanna pay my bills for me, go ahead! I’d welcome it! Nick definitely was in the wrong here.

From Nerdy Girl Notes:

Yes, it was sweet to hear Nick say he would do anything for Jess, but that’s not why he should be opening a bank account. He should be growing as a person because he wants to—not because he feels like it will appease Jess.

Also this, from Nora on Tumblr:

That’s your takeaway from all of this, Nick? You’re doing it cause your girlfriend told you it’s probably a good idea to start paying your bills and not, say, because you think it’s time to be a grown up? Man. Just like Schmidt’s trying to be a good person because he thinks that’s what he’s supposed to do, not because he believes in it.

[Jess shouldn’t have been thanking Nick for opening an account with her money (!)

  • I hadn’t even realized that that’s indeed what had happened!]

This is very important. Especially since in the episode he said “I’m not changing for anyone,” then did a complete about face. Instead, he could have “come to the conclusion” that Jess was right and realized that maybe baby steps should be taken in terms of his responsibility. Not because Jess told him to, but because he wanted to. It’s upsetting that the first fight episode is so troubling and problematic, because otherwise I would have loved to see a “new couple fight” episode and get to watch them overcome it and not break up (like most will-they-won’t-they couples do so, so often. They break up after the first fight).

I did enjoy Drunk!Nick expounding on money, Jess’ Nick character switch at the bank, the sassy receptionist when Jess tries to get Nick’s money back, and the end “how many times did you rub [the candelabra] thinking a genie would come out. Otherwise, it was the weakest episode of the season and the weakest episode in a long time considering how I increasingly loved the end of last season more and more. As Nerdy Girl Notes says, there were characterization problems and she pointed out that it is a new writer who doesn’t necessarily get the nuances of the characters, but that’s something a showrunner  or whoever helps them with that part of the job comes in to say, hey, we need to adjust this. It wouldn’t have even taken that much.

it just seemed to further highlight the fact that this season is doing this character no favors in terms of making [Schmidt] a sympathetic (or even relatable) character.

Let’s not even talk about Schmidt. I thought last week was his rock bottom, but it appears he has further to go. It’s not funny, it’s just sad.

All block quotes belong to Nerdy Girl Notes: TV Time: New Girl 3.05, except where specified.

ConStar Watches Parks and Recreation “Doppelgangers”

I don’t have a lot to say except to quote some of tonight’s fabulous lines. But it was fun seeing Ben and Chris be good cop/bad cop. I’m sad for Leslie, but her acting out was great. Again, it’s interesting that the plot is being introduced so early, as I believe they’re leaving in episode 13 and we’re just in 4(?). But ample time for all the characters to say their goodbyes, which is nice and well deserved for Chris and Ann.

I loved the distraction waffles and distraction Joe Biden.

Donna is fabulous and I love that she got to mention Scandal referencing her real life love for the show (it’s even better that Scandal airs on Thursdays as well.)(aside: I can’t wait for Retta to watch the premiere! Her livetweets will be EPIC!)

Sugar mustard.

April was brilliant and hilarious as Tynnyfer’s counterpart. It was merely funny at first until you realized that April was a genius in bonding with the girl to get her to leave her position.

One thing I would’ve like to have seen was the Eagleton Parks Department interact with each other. I was going to say that I wanted to see them act like our Parks Department, but then I realized that of course they wouldn’t act like our department–our department is a family; the Eagletonians aren’t. But it still would have been nice to see if Craig went to alt!Ron for advice and what the answer might be. I also might have liked to see what an Eagleton Jerry might have looked like. I imagine they would have just been like a Pawneean (poor, unworthy, lol) and everyone thinks he’s awful because of it. Leslie would be a Jerry in Pawnee.

I had more to say than I thought, but quotes below!

Ron is basically a better version of George Washington.

OH MY GOODNESS IS THAT JOE BIDEN ON A HORSE SHIRTLESS??

Craze-mazing

Sorry for the delay ladies, I was busy being ambushed by treachery.

You’re developing an accent from that town you might move to!

You’re like skinny Mother Teresa.

Giving into hate is like drinking salt water. The thirst only gets worst.

“The meth-like high of solving accounting puzzles”

ConStar Watches New Girl: “The Captain” and The Mindy Project: “Magic Morgan”

Not a lot to say about Mindy, so I combined them, but I enjoyed both episodes tonight. Mindy picked up steam for me this week. I’ll explain why I think so below.

New Girl:

I was not ready for Evil Schmidt. I’m glad we dealt with that in one succinct episode; I was worried it would be a drawn out arc. But I love Winston teaching Schmidt how to live in the loft with Nick/Jess and kind of how to be single. I think there will be more of that in the episodes to come.

“And you don’t have time to learn all those dolphin sounds.”

“Did you talk to tightpants and eyebrows!?”

Nick loves Jess too much to let Schmidt break them up over their communication skills. I loved that scene where he begins to express his feelings and I really loved both Jess’ pleased face about it and Schmidt’s disgust. 

SCHMIDT IS SO CHILDISH AND SELFISH. But I see that this is the climax of his actions. He peaked during the birth control pill scene and now he’s in a jerk-phase denouement. Interesting that he only went to CeCe’s house to leave the apology letter. We know he loves CeCe more, but he stayed with Elizabeth too, apparently because he liked them both, not because he just couldn’t break up with Elizabeth. He legit thought he loved them equally, so it’s interesting to wonder on whether it was 1. intentional of the writers to just pick CeCe (seems obvious but there’s also) 2. they couldn’t get Merritt Weaver for the episode or 3. Schmidt is subconsciously choosing CeCe. If that’s the case, I’m going to need Schmidt to discuss somewhere how he clearly loves CeCe more and how he didn’t keep dating them both because he loved them both, but because he was just too chicken to break up with Elizabeth. (Maybe I don’t need it; I suppose it’s all therein subtext. But still.)

I love Nick and Jess. Those final scenes with them were so great. Especially when Jess got annoyed at Nick for talking too much. I’m glad they’re not (currently) in danger of breaking up. Happy one month, guys!

The Mindy Project:

I enjoyed this week’s Mindy Project. it seemed to go back to it’s romantic comedy roots, which really helped the tone and my enjoyment of the show. I hadn’t quite picked up on that being missing while she was dating Casey, but maybe it was? It wasn’t hitting Romantic Comedy tropes. It did in this episode, and I enjoyed it more than the other episodes from this season so far.

Also the scene with Morgan and Mindy had a lot of fun physical humor. Her wrapped in the pizza box was a great visual.

Now I just need them to figure out the new Bro!Doctor (and get rid of him? He’s gross) and maybe make use of their supporting cast? Or at least figure out what to do with them as well.

ConStar Watches How I Met Your Mother “Last Time In New York” and Brooklyn Nine-Nine “The Slump”

catching up on TV during a sick day, so some of these will combine shows from earlier in the week.

HIMYM:

I love where you can see where they just redecorated an old set to make it in the Bed and Breakfast. The Bar/Lounge area is probably just the MacLaren’s set redone.

Is Lily gonna be slightly drunk this entire season? lol

Oh that bottle of scotch! Yuckkk! But oh Lily, stealing the new bottle.

I totally forgot about Ted moving to Chicago… Also, I missed The Mother in this one!

Aww the Mini-flashback of Ted during Lily’s Life Lecture lol. I enjoy their friendship.

Oh Cliffhanger!! Barney sounds mad in the scene, but why would he be upset? He’s been fine with Robin all this time (I don’t remember but I don’t even think they kissed?) so why is he suddenly mad at Ted? I guess I’ll find out Monday.

I suppose, for now, they’re succeeding in stretching the story to fit just the weekend. Though there is some time fudging. Each episode hasn’t been approx 30 mins of time (right?), but continuity is doing pretty well, especially the jokes from the premiere (“thanks, Linus”), so that’s good.

B99:

Yup. still enjoy the theme song. is this Scully the Jerry of the precinct? He has a disgusting body thing, is married, and they kind of also look similar.

“What did I say about doing voices.” “It’s my craft, I’m a storyteller.”

Oh ok I am finally getting some Santiago character; all about praise and commendations. Also as a friend of mine said, Chelsea Peretti’s character is Sam Puckett from iCarly, but so is Rosa. The mixture of them is the perfect Sam Puckett (Sam meets April Ludgate probably). Now that I’ve spotted the Jerry of the precinct, now I’m gonna look for other Parks characters in the B99 cast.

“This is taking too long! I’m going to miss the farmer’s market!!”

Oh hey that kid in the beanie is on WildnOut!

“Not now, Boyle, let a brother breathe!”

I think Santiago and Rosa are basically Sam and Carly. I hope they’re paired together often and become best friends lol.

Oh, I just noticed in the chief’s office, his binders are Rainbow colored right behind him.

I love how the Captain can get away with pranks right back to Peralta and because he is so serious, Peralta believes him. It’s brilliant.

No better way to scare children than weird dancing.

Wow, Terry Crews had some of the best lines of this episode.

ConStar Watches Parks and Recreation “The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip off Classic”

“Knope out!”

Glad to see Kristen Bell on my TV! This Pawnee/Eagleton merger will bring more. She’s more the straight man, as her only humor is in how rich Eagleton is, so maybe more humor will come from Eagletonians being fish out of water in Pawnee situations. I think I like that there is a clear arc for this season; I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be last episode. This gives it a clear arc beyond just a recall election.

Ron moved in with Diane!! I figured he’d build them a house, but maybe he hasn’t decided to do that yet. He needs to get off the grid first. It’s so sweet that he’s got the girls on his old phone. The Tom&Donna bit with social media has great. I’ve known so many snapchat-ers who’ve done exactly that scene. I really missed Donna last week, so I was glad her lines were so great this week.

“I live for the grid. It’s where I meet 40% of my jump offs.”

Aww, Ann practicing her mothering skills on April as well as the spark for her and Chris leaving. Where is Ann from? I wonder if leaving Pawnee is easier for her bc she was born elsewhere? Her parents don’t seem to be in town, so I’m not sure how deep her Pawnee ties are besides Leslie and the gang. I didn’t think they’d introduce this thread so early, but ‘m glad it’s not all introduced in the same episode, of course. Though this may hurt if they decide to tell Leslie early and then we’d see Leslie slowly breaking down over the episodes as she anticipates her best friend leaving her. But watch, April is gonna react the hardest. She’s gonna act out and then be the most upset.

I love how Ben makes Leslie an even better person. They are an amazing pair.

Finally; hold up: how does Leslie have the power/authority to just merge the towns. Is there no one else on city council or the mayor or anyone else who has anything to do with this decision? Lol. Seems a bit of a big decision for just Leslie to announce. I’m anticipating to see where they take this arc.

WELCOME TO PAWNEE!

What I Watched Today – New Girl “Double Date”

WHAT IS UP WITH SCHMIDT?!?! *spoilers ahead*

He’s been going crazy this season and it’s only getting worse. I love the show but I need to know where they are taking Schmidt’s character. It seems like they’re trying to weasel in an obstacle for Nick and Jess and the only way I’ll take this easily is if Nick and Jess survive it. Because to pit Schmidt against them so randomly and evil-y, if they break up over his future antics, then I will be very upset.

Nick and Jess are perfect for each other. There were so many things in this episode that continued to solidify that. Even at the end, after Schmidt begins his mind game, they fight and argue but still come around to an agreement about things. I really hope this test is not just a way to break them up, because as I’ve often mentioned, I’m really over shows constantly breaking up their will-they-won’t-they couple just to “create more tension.” I’m really enjoying watching Nick and Jess together and there could be so many stories for them to explore with them together, since they share such weird and occasionally opposite points of view on things. But they are so good together and Nick loves her so much (when he kissed her after she stuck her hand in the cigarette lighter and then did it himself–they’re both so hilariously dumb and weird but he clearly wanted her to not be in pain alone, great moment.)

I want this to work out, so hopefully they don’t go too far with Schmidt acting the way he is acting. He’s such a child and I am over it. I really would’ve enjoyed seeing him and CeCe together, but now that that is off the table (I would say for now, but what he did was really awful so I doubt they’ll get together again), I wonder what they’re going to do with CeCe’s character. Anything she does would be in Schmidt’s range and we’ve already seen the “date other people” plot. I really wonder where they’re going to take these two.

As long as Nick and Jess don’t meaninglessly break up. That would be a dealbreaker and would really kill my love for a show that I’ve grown to really enjoy watching every week. they’ve been killing it, so hopefully I can retain my faith in their storytelling and comedic abilities.

Link: Key & Peele explain how they created ‘Substitute Teacher’ – The Week

Interview: Key & Peele explain how they created ‘Substitute Teacher’ – The Week.

But when you bring someone back, you want to make sure it’s not just a cookie-cutter, by-the-numbers version of the original sketch, where you have the exact same gag with different names. It was very, very difficult for us to figure out how to do it. [The concept] really goes back to the difference between the cultures of an inner city school and a more privileged school in the suburbs.”

I really like reading people break down their craft, especially (tv) writers, and especially comedians because I always get so lost in the funny that I forget and then later remember that there is such an intricate science to comedy. Sometimes I’ll hear a joke and then think about how it was constructed (something is said, then the turn or element of surprise at the end) but I’ve never been good at setting up a joke or constructing one myself. I think that if I think about it enough, when the time comes to write one, I’ll have picked up the basics by osmosis and it will become innate.

So reading this is fun for me, to learn how this duo comes up with one of their more popular sketches. It also offers insight into how this particular group works and the way their writing dynamic seems to play out.

What I Love About Key and Peele

Key and Peele is brilliant comedy and exactly what I want more of on television.

What I mean when I say that is that Key and Peele are black comedians, but the things they joke about and goof on aren’t always things that are considered apart of black culture. Sure, they do sketches on smoking weed and ridiculous football player names (which, while might be “considered” common of black media, it could also be seen in a white comedians sketch show. things get tinted to be about one culture, but so many things are actually universal), but they also referenced Of Mice and Men, Les Mis and, in tonight’s episode, Ratatouille and mafia movies.

These are not things that one would normally think you’d see in a black comedians sketch show, but it’s a perfect sampling for the fact that black people are more than just the stereotype, sidekicks. We like the same things everyone else does, just with a sprinkling of our particular experience as black people. A movie or TV show that stars was written by a black person CAN appeal to the masses, because what we offer is the same thing that white writers/stars offer.

Key and Peele is brilliant and I’m glad it is being appreciated by audiences of all types.

What I Watched Today – New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Brooklyn 99

New Girl – Wow, this show is just so perfect. Almost too many jokes to mention. This show makes me laugh every commercial break, which is so important for a show. Genius move. Also cut on a hilarious joke and this show did that every act out for me.

I love the Nick/Jess moments. I love how much he wants to help her. I love watching Nick trying to juggle Jess’ AND Winston’s crazy. I’m really pleased with the Nick/Jess post hook-up dynamic. This has been a good year for couples I love getting together and getting better as characters/duos rather than falling flat or the writer’s trying to force them apart every moment they get. Let the characters get together and explore where that can take you! Too many shows give them 2 episodes together (this could be New Girl‘s approach, it’s honestly too early to tell, but I have hope) and then split them up and give them loads of angst. In this episode, you get the moments where they were together, but they also have the same dynamic as before which only makes watching their interactions even better. Great job to the writers.

I’m definitely Team CeCe. And I am so nervous for her and Schmidt’s dynamic when she finds out. She seems so pleased he picked her and happy to see him, her heart is going to be so broken. She really opened up her heart to him. Yikes, the angst will hurt. Hopefully they will keep Nick/Jess the way they are to keep me sane.

Poor Winston. But his “cat killer” crazy was hilarious and well-played. A broken heart made him a little psycho. Still thinking about how uncomfortable the licking sound the cat makes on Schmidt made me.

The Mindy Project –  One piece whipped cream suit was an amusing sight gag. Though I’m still having trouble seeing Mindy and the Rev together. I don’t know if it’s because I approve of Mindy/Danny or if they just feel forced together.

Also, as I tweeted last week, I am super over James Franco. So I don’t care about him on this episode. And I maintain that Mindy is always less funny after the brilliance of New Girl. If they switched the times, Mindy might be funnier in comparison. Or perhaps it’s Sophomore Slump? One day I will stop saying this, sorry.

The theme song remains the best thing about this show.

Brooklyn 99 – I enjoy the theme song for this too. They feel similar, so I wonder if they were done by the same person? Or one inspired by the other.  I liked the locker vs dumpster joke. Really good joke construction and delivery. Before the first act out, I laughed or smiled more than when I watched Mindy, but found myself not really caring about the plot. It was on in the background as I wrote these posts, but didn’t grab me to distraction from this task as trying to blog through New Girl did.

What I Watched Today – HIMYM

*One post was super long so I’ve split them up by show. Shorter posts but more of them is probably better than one long one.

How I Met Your Mother – Aww. The last season. This show often slows down across a season when watching it live, but as I’ve discovered before, it can hold up with a Netflix binge-watch. Here’s hoping the last season holds up better. That’s hard to imagine as most of the 24 episodes will be during a 55 hour weekend. Really having a hard time seeing how this will work, but I’m gonna keep it up until the end. I’ve lasted this long, with a few watching hiatuses before binge catching up; can’t quit now!

Really glad the Mother’s first line made me laugh. Looking good for her. Since I’ve hated all of Ted’s girlfriends. All of them. (Except Robin, but I definitely ship Barney/Robin so she doesn’t count.) She’s so much like Ted, it’s almost scary. I bet they won’t meet until like November sweeps at the rate this is going. But already, my fears of Mother casting have been assuaged (which they were even as of that summer photoshoot with Ted and The Mother kissing. Really great chemistry between them there.)

“You’re a 21st Century toilet!” “!!!!!”

Lady Tedwina Slowsby.

Of course Barney is on Joffrey’s side. #gameofthrones

Creepy telepathic murder thoughts.

You have certainly peaked my incest–interest.

“I’ve got you. I don’t have to wait for it anymore.” d’awwww. As well as the photo moment.

And one grizzly murder.

As usual, the second episode is slower and not as funny.

NO SHE’S LITERALLY AROUND THE CORNER THOUGH.

I enjoyed watching Ted and The Mother in that last scene! Good job!

ConStar Tries to Study 30 Rock but Can’t Because There Are Too Many Emotions Involved

I just have no words. 30 Rock is over. What will I do without Liz and Kenneth and Jack and Tracy and Jenna and everyone? Most people who love TV like I do love Tina Fey and all that she has done for funny since forever ago. And now Queen Tina of TV (as I’ve been calling her all day) is (currently) no longer filling our Thursday nights with the wise words of her daughter Alice. (I want to go to there.)

It’s pilot season and we know Tina has a deal with Robert Carlock (her fellow 30 Rock co-producer) and NBC so hopefully whatever is already in the works hits our screens by this fall. But for now, we mourn the loss of so many wonderful turns of phrase, outrageously hilarious moments, and fantastic meta moments (like the Lorne Michaels title plate coming up in the middle of the hour-long episode right when the first 1/2 hr was over–one of my favorite jokes of the night). 30 Rock was brilliant and while Nielsen America may want The Big Bang Theory, there are plenty of people who want the 30 Rocks and the Communitys and the Parks and Recreations–shows that actually make the watcher think and laugh at the same time. Shows that understand how we love television and how invested we get.  Shows done by people who clearly love what they do and don’t do it just for the paycheck. I hope that more shows like 30 Rock come to our TVs, because they are done by people who love TV for people who love TV.

Goodbye 30 Rock. I’ll miss you. I miss you already.

Lemon out.