Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Candyman Can Because He Mixes It With Love And Makes The World Taste Good

If you haven’t seen the finales for The Office, My Name Is Earl, Grey’s Anatomy or How I Met You Mother, and don’t want any spoilers, this is not the place to be.

Who knew that the best place to get your weekly lesson on love and faith wasn’t Seventh Heaven or The 700 Club, but two super-sized comedies on NBC.

The My Name is Earl finale had some great moments, but overall it showed the heart of the show, and that is how faith has changed the life of Earl J. Hickey. Faced with the fact that karma had willed he give up the lottery winnings that funded his quest of redemption, Earl does not return to his old ways of theft, even though he was forced to sell his precious El Camino, give up his motel room home to a family of foreign vacationers and allow his brother to eat moths, but instead forges through in an attempt to complete enough good deeds that karma saves him. Just a beautiful take on faith and powering through the front door as opposed to slipping out the back in the time of crisis, as done by a mustached redneck on primetime television.

(The cleverest musically-backed scene I’ve seen in sometime was also on Earl, as Randy found a fifty-cent piece down a grate as the Willy Wonka Candyman” music started to play as he went to buy a lottery ticket, then as he and Earl argued over who was to scratch it off and from which side, they played the “I’ve Got the Golden Ticket” score. Sheer brilliance.)

If Earl was a lesson on faith, then The Office was a lesson on love. For the last two seasons, Jim has been forced to sit idly by while he sees the woman he loves, and who he’s pretty sure loves him back, plan her marriage to a complete and total loser. I’d say everyone has been in the position where they’ve had a crush on or even felt they were in love with a person who was involved with someone else they thought was a total douchebag, and I would say generally, nothing is ever said about it and you go on wondering “What if?”. The Office was about what happens when you get the nerve to say something about it, get rejected, then say “Fuck it” and go kiss the girl anyway because you’re pretty sure it’s right, and that guy she’s about to marry definitely is a douchebag. The Office is probably the best comedy on television, and it probably asserted itself as one of the best dramas as well Thursday night. That’s the kind of cliffhanger you can feel good about for a few months.

Cliffhanger that’s not so hot? Let’s talk Grey’s Anatomy. She, who is Meredith going to choose, the guy she’s been in love with since the pilot and just had sex with, or the guy whose simply a guest star? I can’t imagine who. I was rather unimpressed with the Grey’s finale on a whole, other than the big-time sadness that Denny died and the relief that Burke made it through all right. I think the problem is that the non-Denny’s death climax, Meredith and Shepard having sex, wasn’t a big-time moment for me for two reasons. First, having only seen the first season represented through clip shows, the relationship doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. Secondly, I really don’t like both characters. I like Addison and Chris O’ Donnell so much more than I like their counterparts, so my only hope from this turn of events is that they both come out on top of the world.

Maybe it’s just that Grey’s, as Katie said, is just so much more nuanced towards women, but I think it’s really just that I don’t like many of the main characters. I like George, Alex on most days, Bailey, Burke and Addison, but the “heroes” of the show – or to be more correct, the main protagonists – are completely reprehensible in my eyes. I’m not saying that they screwed up the finale completely, because they didn’t, but I think some of the post-Super Bowl, Code Black momentum has been lost, and they were going to need all of it with ABC moving the show to Thursday nights at 9:00. Really throwing the gauntlet down against CSI and NBC’s premier premiere of the fall, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Risky choice, and don’t be surprised if NBC reshuffles things in an attempt to save their hyped-up little freshman.

Disappointed in Prison Break, as the last episode seemed to drag and not end well at all. I’ll give the second season a chance, just because I feel they deserve it for some of the truly inspired ideas this run, but I’m not sure if it has enough to survive outside the prison, despite the five million dollars awaiting them under some silo in Utah.

Conflicted emotions on How I Met Your Mother. We know Robin and Ted don’t end up together, so why waste anymore time on it? I enjoyed the episode that took place in her apartment with the Victoria visages popping into Ted’s mind, but they’ve drawn it out a bit, with the oft-thrown around comparison of “Ross and Rachel” being used. Also, Lily and Marshall potentially breaking up? So sad. As opposed to Grey’s, I care about all of the characters – especially Barney, who despite being a sleazy dirtbag, is seemingly always there for his friends – on this show.

Also, the two-hour 24 finale coming up next week, despite any plot lapses or “Huh?” moments that have characterized this season, looks to be fantastic. Aaron is back in play, there’s a guaranteed fight on a Russian submarine and a showdown between Jack Bauer and the Evil President, who has really switched from “Pussy President Charles Logan” to “Evil Pussy President Charles Logan” really well. When the man talks, it makes your skin crawl.


ABC announced their Saturday night football schedule, and Notre Dame appears on their three times: The season opener at Georgia Tech, the bloodbath that will be our revenge on Michigan State in East Lansing and the regular season finale against the Men of Troy on Thanksgiving Weekend. As much as I want to go to the Georgia Tech game, right now the cheapest tickets on StubHub are going for is $230. Of course, if you think that's ridiculous just to see Chris, Lee and Kirk in person, go look up the prices for the Ohio State/Texas game in Austin. Yikes.

The downside? Bob Davie. The upside? At least three runs at the Brent Musburger drinking game!

On the bright side, this should be capable of getting everyone really, really excited for the upcoming football season. (Props to Rob for sending me that.) Also, Athlon is running down their Top 25 already, so follow this daily to see where the Irish land. My big question so far: Do they really feel Louisville is better than LSU, who I realize lost some people, but still, they beat Miami 40-3! Must be the Les Miles factor.


I don't see any major downside to the Dolphins signing Marcus Vick. Do you really think there's anything some young gun is going to do to disrupt a team that features leaders like Nick Saban, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, short of shooting someone? Worst case, he either screws up and gets kicked off the team or just settles on the practice squad, while the best case is he becomes a quality contributor for your Super Bowl XLI champions. I see little downside here.

Now in Miami!


Consider this your random McSweeneys link of the week. You break down the psyche of a Muppet, I will praise you.


Again, the extended NBA post is coming, but I just want to do a few quick points:

1) The Cavaliers, despite evening the series with the Pistons, still have to win a game in the Palace. And I don't like all of LeBron's dribbling for the sake of dribbling while the rest of the team stands around. Should he have the ball in his hands a lot? Absolutely. Should the team around him be doing something while he's dribbling the ball, or should he be advancing, while in control, towards the hoop? Also yes.

2) The Mavericks/Spurs game last night was one of the best I've seen. A great example of somebody going out and winning a game, as opposed to the usual somebody choking it away. I knew Devin Harris would be good when he took it to Pitt back in the tournament a few years back, and he's certainly morphed into a capable NBA player. Great series.

3) Probably better than Clippers/Suns, but I still love me some Shaun Livingston enough that I don't care. Shaun has had bursts of great play and bursts of stupid fouls, but overall, he's been a solid contributor to this series. It's going to be a joy to watch as he develops a jump shot and some bulk. Clipper fever: Catch it!

4) Going back to LeBron and the Pistons, I hope King James can pull it out, just because it would set up Wade vs. his more-hyped but less-established draft mate for seven fantabulous games. It would also nearly guarantee, as long as the Spurs can't rally out of their 3-1 hole, that the Finals would be some combination of Heat/Cavaliers vs. Suns/Clippers/Mavericks, which would be a blast.


Not that I needed to warn any of you extremely knowledgable people, but the divine Ms. Anna Pursley has informed me that Poseidon is indeed as bad as stated, with the script and acting so bad that it physically hurt her. Da Vinci Code on Friday. I think I'm going to just stay away unless the reviews are absolutely glowing, and even then, it'll take a polished invite and a promise of a free slushie to get me to go.

Insert your own "box office" and "capsizing" joke here. We knew it was going to be the flop of the summer, but still.

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