The Happiest Shows on Earth: ‘Parks and Recreation’ and optimism on TV via #EWCommunity

Parks and RecreationI wrote the following for the #EWCommunity, to share some shows that have made me smile even half as much as Parks and Rec did. There aren’t many, but click through for some shows that celebrate optimism, love, and friendship.

Parks and Recreation was lauded for its combination of comedy and earnest sweetness. The people of Pawnee, Indiana, are “first in friendship, fourth in obesity,” and they proved the former to us for seven seasons. The characters love each other, love the work they do (even as underappreciated public servants), and taught us to celebrate Galentine’s Day, waffles, and ourselves (Treat yo’ self!).

Very few shows allow themselves as much happiness as Parks and Recreation did. So many shows are gritty and dark, or concern us with which major character is being killed off this week. Nothing is wrong with that; I love a lot of shows that raise my blood pressure in a very real and probably unhealthy way. But sometimes you need to balance it out with shows that make you smile every single time you watch an episode. Parks and Recreation was one of those shows.

Now that it’s gone, I want to reflect on other shows that celebrated friendship, love, and optimism, and were unafraid to be bright spots in a cynical and dark world. There aren’t many, but here are a few shows that exemplified a few of the qualities that made us love Parks so much:

Click through to find out the shows: The Happiest Shows on Earth: ‘Parks and Recreation’ and optimism on TV | EW Community | EW.com.

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ConStar Clicks

100 things to do before high school nickelodeon diversity

100 Things to Do Before High School Look at that beautiful kidsitcom diversity!

♣ Confession: I have another blog — that needs resurrecting — called Childish Things. Based on a C.S. Lewis quote, it’s about ridding yourself of the fear of so-called “childish things.” For a long time, I hid my interest in cartoons or refused to read children’s/YA lit because I thought I wasn’t supposed to. So I created a blog to discuss that. It’s been dormant for a while, but posts like this one in the NY Times make me want to bring it back. It discusses the changing Nickelodeon live action format and from what it sounds like, I’d love to be apart of that new wave of children’s television. I want more sophisticated programming for kids — for kids like me who read books all the time or watched grown up TV with their parents/guardians. The two programs mentioned most, Bella and the Bulldogs and 100 Things to Do Before High School, sounds really interesting — shows I definitely want to check out. And they’re also presenting diverse stories for people of color and children who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. Nickelodeon used to be the place to go to alternative kids programming, especially in the 90s, hopefully they are returning to that lack of formula. Maybe you’ll see something about this on that other blog I’ve got.

♣ Confidence is a big issue with me. I am not one of those people who wants attention and proudly proclaims their accomplishments. I am trying, social media helps make it a bit easier (shameless plugs abound in the #Clicks), but I’ve still got a long way to go. This piece in Script Magazine tells me what I already know, I’ve got to stop using the word “aspiring.” I’ve removed it from certain social media profile descriptions and am trying to keep it out of my personal vocabulary. It helps that I’ve been writing more, opening Final Draft more. But I still need to work on my writing mindset. These words from the article help:

Stop aspiring.

I mean it. If you’ve developed the habit of referring to yourself as an “aspiring writer,” cut it out. Do yourself a huge favor and take the word “aspiring” out of your vocabulary. It’s not helping you. In fact, it might even be hurting you.

Why? Because you’re not an aspiring writer. You’re a writer, period. Full stop. End of sentence.

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t sold a script or been staffed yet. To the contrary, that’s the very reason why you shouldn’t call yourself “aspiring.” Just as you wouldn’t welcome an “aspiring plumber” into your home to tear up your pipes, or trust an “aspiring doctor” to operate on you, why would anyone want to hire an “aspiring” writer? And the simple answer is, they don’t. People just hire writers. Start branding yourself as simply a writer, and it’ll have a direct impact on how you’re perceived by the people you meet.

So if you struggle with the word “aspiring,” click through and maybe Eric Haywood’s words will inspire you too.

♣ Speaking of writing, a reminder for me as a writer (also doubles as my weekly Jane the Virgin reference)

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As long as characters want different things, there is conflict, there is story. #JaneTheVirgin #TCA15

— Danielle Turchiano (@danielletbd) January 13, 2015

♣ Fresh of the Boat’s publicity tour is making me so nervous. Check out the awkward panels that have happened since they’ve started doing press. I hope the show does well and provides more opportunities for Asian actors, but this doesn’t feel like a great start. Conversely, drama provides interest and clicks — maybe its a way to get more publicity so people tune in? Entertainment Weekly and Audrey Magazine each have pieces on the drama.

♣ @xcerteras on Twitter has a list of sci-fi/fantasy shows that need to step up their diversity game. If you love charts,click through:

♣ Lastly, have you been watching The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore? I think it’s been knocking it out of the park in this, its first week. Already he’s covered things that other shows refuse to cover, like protests, Cosby, Cuba, and this week’s State of the Union. He’s had diverse panelists (like, real diversity, not blonde/blonde/brunette diversity), but also hasn’t been afraid to have a guest with a contrary opinion to the rest of the group.  It’s been great and I’m excited to get to see it live next week! The Writers Guild of America shared this article on Wilmore, exploring his past screenwriting accomplishments, including a show called The PJs, which was going to be the title of a project I’m working on, until I found out someone used it already.

Note the part where Wilmore writes that the acting style will be naturalistic, and the show will be shot in cinéma vérité style. Almost like a documentary. Hmmm… is there another show like that? One that began production after BERNIE MAC had been on the air for four seasons? And that eventually procured Wilmore as a writer?

Hmm, this, like the Living Single/Friends thing (look it up), is so very interesting in the ways black television does something first, but something more.. ahem, “mainstream”… later codifies the tropes and becomes the household name for the formatting innovation. Anyway, check out The Nightly Show and click the link to see some pages from his scripts.

♣ Oh wait! Last night, I wrote my first post on Buzzfeed! Check it out, I posit names for Ben and Leslie’s children on Parks and Recreation. Because we all know Leslie would totally want to name her kids Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

♣ And finally, this time for real, for real:

So if you haven’t already, now’s the time to go ahead and make that resolution. Resolve to stop aspiring. Take that dirty word out of your everyday conversation once and for all, and by all means, please take it out of your Twitter bio – yes, YOU. You know who you are. — Eric Haywood.

Constar Clicks

[I did say it might be less than every two weeks… I’ll blame every article on the media being about the Movie That Must Not Be Named for nearly an entire week.]

Okay, so these Clicks posts are becoming little Jane the Virgin shrines, but I don’t particularly care when it’s one of my favorite shows on television. Here’s post on Jane’s honesty as her superpower in a show (and a world) full of liars. And here’s another piece on Jane, an interview with showrunner Jennie Urman in HuffPo’s Latino Voices.

If my blog were her locker, it’d be 75% pictures of this show. The other 25%? Scandal and Arrow/The Flash probz.

But before this becomes a Jane the Virgin only blog (it kinda is anyway), there’re non-Jane related clicks too!

I’m gonna miss Stephen Colbert and the Colbert Report. I’m super sad Letterman isn’t retiring until May (I really thought it’d be earlier in the year), but perhaps it’s 5+ months for Stephen to do awesome things he won’t have time to do once he takes over Late Show, like maybe host SNL? In the meantime, here are some times Stephen’s broken character, rare but hilarious and adorable.

Annie‘s out this weekend, and while I haven’t seen it yet, it’s so important that Quvenzhane gets to play her. I wrote recently about my quote in Bitch Magazine regarding the movie as well.

In other movie news, Film Fatale urges director Angeline Jolie not to white wash Cleopatra, as has been done countless times in the past.

 Similar to my Midseason Diversity Check-in is Shadow and Act’s “Best Black Television of 2014,” mentioning the network TV shows with breakout black characters this season.

“For the first television season in a long time a lot of hubbub has been made about diversity on television, primarily on the major networks. While there has been a greater emergence of one or two Black characters on various shows over the past few years – in some cases token characters, but most often not really – the major difference for the new 2014-15 television season is that many of the hyped shows are headlined by very recognizable Black talent and in a few cases also produced and created by Black talent.  There is another difference – a lot of them are really good!”

I used to compile similar links posts for Amanda Pendolino’s blog The Aspiring TV and Screenwriter. So it’s great to see this interview with her on Maximum Z blog on how she became a script reader and things she looks for in a good script.

7. What are the 3 most important rules every writer should know?

-Writing is rewriting. Don’t send a script out until it’s ready.

-Read scripts and watch TV/movies voraciously.

-One single script probably won’t launch your career. Sometimes the best thing to do is move on and write a new script.

Betsy Beers and Shonda Rhimes

Betsy Beers and Shonda Rhimes, creative dream team

This article in the Hollywood Reporter talks about what it takes to get a job in Shondaland. Everyone wants to be Shonda Rhimes, but sometimes I think I want to be Betsy Beers. It seems she does a lot the behind the scenes work that lets Shonda focus on writing, but doesn’t get the bad press when the public doesn’t like certain things. “Beers, who also identified Scandal inspiration Judy Smith as a potential storytelling vehicle for Rhimes, says she looks for depth and three-dimensionality when she reads scripts for potential Shondaland vehicles.”

It seems like a lovely and educationally gratifying work environment:

“Across the board, there’s opportunity to grow yourself as an artist,” Wilson says. “We have our script supervisor that directs and also acts on the show. One of our grips is a director on the show now. Two of our editors, three of our writers, there’s such opportunity for movement if you can really appreciate where you are and soak that in. The writers constantly move from position to position every season; I don’t know if other universes work that way but ours certainly does and I really appreciate that.”

I’d really appreciate that too! I would of course love to benefit from such an environment, but I also love looking out for people in that way myself. seeing the potential in them and giving them a nudge in the right direction. Sometimes I feel like I am not the person meant to be a big name, but the person behind that person. But maybe that’s just the introvert and fear in me talking. But it’d be nice to have the careers of either one of these game changing women.

And finally, get your friends who are Parks and Recs fans this tasty looking Waffle Keyboard. It won’t come in time for Christmas, but maybe for premiere or finale parties?

keyboard shaped waffle

Leslie Knope wouldn’t know if she should type an acceptance speech or reach for the whipped cream.

Who Are the Emmy Voters?

Another Tatiana Maslany Emmy Nomination Snub — Vulture

Emmy nominations came out today and they’re extremely frustrating. I’ve never claimed to watch the most popular or hit shows on television, if I do, it’s usually after they’ve ended or the hype has gone down. I watch oddball stuff, the low-rated critical darling comedies (on NBC lol) and sci-fi/fantasy/action stuff (I’m binging Arrow, and I’m really enjoying it so far!). The shows I watch are hardly ever nominated. It’s not like I’m expecting Sleepy Hollow to win all the awards, I’m not. But Emmy noms make me wonder who is voting for the shows that get picked. Is it a representative sample of television watchers? Or just a bunch of old white men (and probably some women, which is good but not great) like every other prestigious committee?

We don’t really know who they are for some obvious reasons, but are there demographics available? I am thinking women are decently represented, especially with Orange is the New Black‘s nominations, and there are plenty of action loving men if HBO’s record breaking nominations are any indication. I’ve lost count of how many Game of Thrones received–this I am pleased with–but a lot of the people I know who watch Game of Thrones, also watch Orphan Black. There is a reason Sci-fi/Fantasy are so often lumped together when people list categories–fans one of often like stuff from the other. (Obviously not always, you usually pick one over the other–I’m more Fantasy than sci-fi myself.)

So who is voting for Game of Thrones but has no interest in Orphan Black? Who is voting for fantastic women on Netflix but isn’t interested in one fantastic woman playing many fantastic women on BBC America?I get that there are many other considerations to voting, people’s personal interests and whatever the For Your Consideration choice was, but for a second year in a row, an amazing actress was overlooked. And that doesn’t count the mainstream snubs: I don’t even watch The Good Wife and I think it was snubbed for a best drama nomination.

I wish we knew more about these voters. Where are they coming from? What makes them decide the way they do? Do we need an upgrade of the entire system? Like many things, I kind of imagine they haven’t changed the way they do things, or include people, in ages. Have they widened their net of voters in this ever expanding age of television? They need more sci-fi watchers, more fantasy watchers, more young people, more people who will vote for Amy Poehler to finally win that comedy award she so achingly deserves (they’ve got this year and next to recognize. She might get another show immediately, but she deserves it for Parks so, so much). There’s more television happening than ever before and it’s not being looked at by the Emmy committee. There are more networks, more internet voices coming to play in the big leagues; have we included voters to represent those new voices that these new networks and new shows are trying to bring to the forefront? The Emmy pool just tells me that the efforts being made to bring diversity to the screen isn’t being made in the voting pool.

Maybe we need a category for science fiction, since it’s the most snubbed TV genre that I can think of. Maybe I am wrong or misinformed,  but the selections aren’t showing the true pool of talent on television and isn’t that what the Emmy’s are for*?

*The answer is probably actually all about money. So everything I said means nothing. Except, the Good Wife is a hit show on the “number one network,” you know some hefty money is involved there. Ok, I’m done rambling about Emmy snubs now.

Check out the full nomination list here: http://www.thewrap.com/emmy-awards-nominees-nominations-emmys/ 

Upfronts 2014: Parks and Recreation

Before I talk about the new shows coming up, let me mourn the shows going out.

We all know now that Community is gone for good. And while I knew it was probably the case, the other NBC stanchion from the last comedy block era, Parks and Recreation, is headed into it’s last season. Parks is easily one of my top 2 shows right now (along with Castle). I love a show that can make me smile every single time I watch it (a reason I love The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon). Parks knocks it out of the park (oh, oops, totally not on purpose) with comedy, heart, emotion, zaniness, inspiration (who hasn’t been inspired to do something big and crazy after Leslie Knope tried something big and crazy), and a love of waffles and whipped cream. Even the dullest episodes of Parks make me smile in some way that hold me over until the next big episode.

And it’s all of the above that let me know they couldn’t do it forever. Mostly, the idea that they don’t hold characters back to adhere to comedy/storytelling/tv tropes. Ben and Leslie got together and then stayed together. Chris and Ann faltered a bit, but then had a baby and actually moved out of town. April has gotten married, (graduated? left school? they’re a bit fuzzy on that) and moved up in her career several times. Ron has gotten married and had children! Talk about character development! The show’s commitment to allowing their characters to be people, to be funny but real people is why it couldn’t last forever, because we’ve hit moments that are series enders. Leslie having a baby, Leslie finishing Lot 49, Leslie moving up in government are all series enders. We’re moving past the premise (and title) of the show, so it definitely couldn’t last forever. Leslie’s character could never stay cooped up in the Parks department, if she did, we’d love her less, or at least lose respect for her and her huge vision.

So I knew this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any less sad. And mad. Because NBC hasn’t put it on the fall schedule. How dare they make their longest running sitcom thus far wait until a new show is cancelled before putting it in the line up?! Do they not care about Parks fans? Seems not if this is how they’re treating Parks fans, which just by virtue of enjoying the show, are loyal fans. We wouldn’t like the show is loyalty wasn’t important to us, because it’s important to Leslie. I won’t be watching any of their new comedies (there’s only 4 of them. Could that be a record low for recent years?) and if the trend is right, other Parks fans probably won’t either. Mike Shur, Parks Executive Producer, has a show on another network that fits the Parks brand. Even the other FOX comedies feel more in line with Parks than NBC shows do. So NBC lost a lot of points with me by doubling my negative emotions. But once season 7 begins, I’ll forgive them, just for the half hour Parks is on, until the series finale. (This summer they get my Maya Rudolph eyes. And Jimmy Fallon. And sometimes Seth.)

I am excited to see what they do for this last season. Knowing that it’s ending gives the writers an opportunity to take risks they couldn’t before, to push the boundaries of both comedy and storytelling, because it’s their last shot. And they can take the characters to the end goals you know they’re headed towards with more time than a rushed series finale. Hit those home runs, Parks team, I know you will.

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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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Pilot Season/Upfronts 2014

It’s that time of the year, Upfronts (also here for another way to look at what Upfronts actually are), when networks present their pilot season shows and lineups to advertisers and the general public. I’ve been a bit busy or lethargic the last month or so, so I haven’t been posting (though I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the views I’ve still managed to get) but get ready for a deluge as I look at shows coming this summer, fall, and beyond, and discuss current shows’ trajectories (I’m a bit mad about NBC’s treatment of Parks and Recreation. We’ll get there).

I’ll write a bunch and try to spread them out over the week as to not spam. Also, I’ll post my current fall tv chart–it’s looking as busy as usual as I find out about all these new shows!

Let the Upfront madness begin!

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Link: 12 Television Writers of Color You Should Know – Flavorwire

12 Television Writers of Color You Should Know – Flavorwire

Hopefully this list grows more and more as the 2014 pilot season arises.

Some of my favorites from this list:

Obviously Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. I am currently taking an TV writing class and decided to write a Scandal spec script. We’ll see how it goes.

Mindy Kaling – of the Mindy Project, obviously. I didn’t watch The Office, but I watch The Mindy Project and enjoy it’s rom-com style (when it sticks to it)

Aisha Muharrar writes for Parks and Recreation. She wrote the following episodes: “Kaboom” (2.06) “Park Safety” (2.19) “Camping” (3.08) “Born & Raised” (4.03) “Operation Ann” (4.14) “Bus Tour” (4.21)”Ms. Knope Goes to Washington” (5.01) “Ron and Diane” (5.09) and this seasons Recall Vote.

Yvette Lee Bowser wrote for A Different World and created Living Single. Two of my favorite black sitcoms. I need to check up on her other show Half and Half.

Check out the list for more, some of your favorite shows have writers of color you might not have known about. These writers are from Modern Family, The Killing, Hannibal, House, and Orange is the New Black!

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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 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 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 – Parks and Recreation

(really, yesterday, but I had to rewatch because I was so tired and couldn’t blog)

Parks is easily one of my favorite shows on television. From lovable, hilarious Amy Poehler, to snarky and dark April, and tough as nails but the best giggler on television Ron Swanson; comedy fans across the nation have fallen in love with Parks and Recreation. The only people who don’t seem to love Parks is the Emmy nomination committee, who nominate it but don’t acknowledge the brilliance of the show or its lead. So of course I am super excited it is back on my television.

Ron Swanson is a fantastic character. I love how rough and gruff he is, but how deep his sensitiveness goes. His romantic yet brief gestures for Xena (sorry, I must) Diane are completely sweet and completely in character. (He built her a canoe!!) And you can tell why he loves her so much because she’s also brief and to the point but still with a sly sense of humor. I can’t wait to see what kind of Dad he’s going to be. (I’m surprised he doesn’t already have older children but then again, with either of the Tammy’s, those families would have been jacked up.) I loved everything about their impromptu wedding, best of all Leslie’s joy and excitement, which as some posts on tumblr claimed, are how we all feel when watching our favorite TV show. Image

Everything about the Teaser was the perfectly the show.

London was a fun trip and I see some of the seeds of the rest of the season developing (Andy’s character development to match his hair and ab changes lol), also Ron and Chris/Ann becoming parents (and the latter’s departure). But I have to say that Tom’s storyline kind of bored me. There were perhaps too many Saperstein’s in the episode and they kind of cancelled each other out for me. Jean-Ralphio is my favorite, but mixed with Mona Lisa and their dad, it didn’t hold as much weight or excitement for me. I wonder, though, where the Tom/Jean-Ralphio relationship is heading, considering how frustrated Tom was with Jean-Ralphio in this episode. “I need some better friends.” Dr. Saperstein wasn’t as dynamic as he perhaps should have been for a father of JR and ML. He was kind of normal and oblivious to his children’s antics.

I am really in love with Leslie/Ben and it rivals my other 2 current TV couples for best post-will-they-won’t-they relationship upgrade. (Castle/Beckett and Nick/Jess are the other two.)

The best parts of the episode were the beginning and Jerry’s epic Jerry-ism with Chris and Ann. That scene cracked me up!

“When did you make the switch to boxer briefs?” More Donna, please!

I need Leslie Knope in my life, so she can help me figure out my life and get me awesome, super personalized and thought out gifts. LOL

“One bearded lady. She got all offended when I marveled at her.” I really dig April’s character development and how she showed her love of Leslie and supported Andy. And got to be Ron Swanson’s best man. She would’ve been the only choice for the job even had they decided to have a real wedding. Her letter to the committee about Leslie was so beautiful and made me tear up.

“I’m basically Babyface.”

Parks and Rec is not only super funny, but it’s got the most heart of any sitcom on television. And that’s why I love it. People can love Breaking Bad and Mad Men and things that focus on what’s dark in this world–and that’s fine–but we also need shows that focus on the good of people and friendship and love. We should focus on that equally as much.

My (Current) Fall TV Schedule

My (Current) Fall TV Schedule

Am I forgetting anything? I might watch MIchael J Fox’s new show, but I’ll add that when I decide what I want to do after I watch it on Thursday (should I remember to do so.)

What are you watching?

ConStar Studies Parks and Recreation

In order to think of spec ideas, one tends to turn to recent events in the news to spur an idea. I’m not always good at that. But a show that I would love to spec (I’ve been trying and have yet to get it right) is Parks and Recreation and I think they’ve been fantastic, especially this season, at taking current events and adapting them to Pawnee.

Just from this season:

  • 5.02 “Soda Tax” pokes fun at cities (esp NY currently) that are imposing rules on the size of soft drinks in stores. Great way to adapt to Pawnee. Especially the great visual humor of the “child size” cup. 
  • 5.13 “Emergency Response” makes reference to cities’ amount of preparation for major storms and in giving Pawnee a failing grade, subtly makes commentary on the fact that most cities have been unprepared for the crazy kinds of storms we’ve been getting recently. (Quakenado!)
  • 5.16 “Bailout” took the idea of a major government bailout and scaled it down to be about an independent movie rental chain (covering two things at once, really).

These are just a few examples in which Parks is able to take a major news story or a recent trend (as with the movie chain idea) and adapt it to life in Pawnee. I really like this idea and keep searching for ways to take media stories and move them to Pawnee.

Side note: I wrote this post yesterday but scheduled it for today. I’m working my way towards blogging more! Score!

ConStar Studies Myers Briggs TV Types

I am still notoriously bad at this, BUT if my anyone happens to be interested, my friend started a tumblr where she Myers Briggs Personality Types TV characters. So far 30 Rock, New Girl and Parks and Recreation characters have been typed according to the MBTI and more shows are on the way. It’s just for fun and as I’ve been obsessed with Myers Briggs recently and it relates to TV, I thought I’d share (so I feel less guilty for never posting). Anyway, check it out: tvtypes.tumblr.com.

Looking at character Myers Briggs types can be helpful when creating a character or working with an established character. You learn more about what makes them tick and you can learn the ways you can put different types against each other and what the common problems are. Two types may have chronic miscommunication because they just think differently. Or they may have a similar chemistry because they see the world the same way. It’s a cool way to learn more about (both fictional and real life) characters and why they operate the way they do. Then you can really understand why those two characters are in love or get along or why in spite of their differences, they are together. It could be a great way to discover conflicts between the characters, something I find myself struggling with (because my type, INFJ, hates conflict with the heat of 1000 suns).

tvtypes.tumblr.com

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.