RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Television

Our favourite episodes of Community

Our favourite episodes of Community
30 Rock’s last episode was has left a pretty big void in our lives and we are going to miss Liz and Jack and DotCom and Tracy and Kenneth so much. But, thankfully Community season 4 is coming back this week (7th of Feb! Save the date!) and we are looking forward to it with some trepidation. Dan Harmon isn’t writing anymore and Community is too precious to be messed with. While we wait for 7th of Feb! we went back to the three brilliant season of Community to list our 10 favorite episodes of all time.

Spanish 101 from Season 1

In just the second episode, the show managed to reach high-levels of awesomeness with Spanish 101. We meet Senor Chang, we see Annie and Shirley protest ‘Guatemala’, we see Pierce and Jeff give an amazing presentation (there’s fireworks and robots involved) and the best of all, we hear the ‘Spanish rap’. That rap had us hooked to the show and we have been rewarded.

Contemporary American Poultry from Season 1

The crisis of diminishing chicken fingers in the cafeteria turns into an episode of Goodfellas meets The Godfather. Abed takes control of the “family” from Jeff, and everybody becomes corrupt with power (over chicken fingers) till Abed decided to take them down. With this wonderfully made episode, Community pays homage to the classic American mafia movie.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons from season 2

The gang realise that they have to simulate a complex Dungeons and Dragons game in order to save Fat Neil from committing suicide. Meant to boost Fat Neil’s confidence, the game becomes more than just that, when a thwarted Pierce starts counter playing the gang and Abed is Game Master. Great Stuff.

Dinner with Andre/Dinner with Abed from season 2

How was this episode legendary? Let us count the ways: It paid tribute to Dinner with Andre. It paid tribute to Pulp Fiction. It showed us a very bewildering Un-Abed Abed (No Cool cool cool and actual eye contact. Argh. Were that we were struck blind before this.) And you know what, if you watch Cougar Town, you’ll see that Abed was actually an extra on that episode which (supposedly) changed his worldview.

Cooperative calligraphy from Season 2

Or as it’s more famously known, the Bottle episode. The gang tries to find out who it was that stole Annie’s Pen. Tempers rise, secrets are revealed, deep subjects like religion and sexuality are heatedly debated and the dialogue gets sharper as the plot gets more ridiculous, more funny. Cooperative Calligeraphy is one of the gems of the show, a tightly written, lightly delivered gem.

Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design from season 2

Jeff takes on the ultimate blow-off class (one that doesn’t really exist) but wait, what’s this…It does exist? And who is this fake professor who is actually a real professor? This episode is wave upon wave of conspiracies and its jam packed with exaggerated hilarity. It is also the origins of Troy and Abed’s Blanket Fort, where you need permits to hold demonstrations and where there’s a real live Turkish District.

Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples from Season 2

Shirley attempts to get people to believe in God and decides to let Abed make a pro Jesus movie. Except she shouldn’t have. Abed goes crazy with it and makes a super-meta film where he is Jesus Christ and the movie is reality and reality is the movie. The closing credits with Troy and Abed dress and start talking like Jeff was beautiful.

Regional Holiday Music from Season 3

The Greendale 7 have always professed a certain bewilderment at the popularity of Glee. “I don’t understand the appeal at all.” This fact made it doubly hilarious when they found themselves subbing for the original glee club one Christmas. Suddenly life was all about wanting to “get to regionals.” Hilarious. Also, we got to see Troy and Abed do a ‘music through the ages duet’ about Baby Boomer Santa.

Remedial Chaos Theory from Season 3

Every time the dice is rolled, the future splits into multiple timelines where one details changes the course of time. Remedial Chaos Theory is definitely one of the most intelligently written episodes on television. The concept itself; every timeline starts out with the same premise but the everything goes crazy, is so epic. It also introduced the darkest timeline where Jeff loses an arm, Pierce gets shot, Shirley becomes an alcoholic, and Annie ends up in a mental institution. Oh and Abed makes felt beards.

 

Advertisements

The soap opera hypocrisy

The soap opera hypocrisy

­­Soap operas come with some sort of magical power that causes your brain to say “This is so stupid. I’m smarter than this. I scored 92% in SSC,” over and over again but still have you absolutely addicted.

I have secretly watched Brothers and Sisters, openly been in love with Parenthood and grudgingly caught up on Packed to the Rafters.  People fall in and out of love, constantly keep dealing with life-threating diseases, kill someone by mistake or deal with death in a few months. Plotlines and themes repeat themselves in the shows with younger characters (like 90210 and Gossip Girls). But, we still watch these, while being pretty public about our hatred for Indian soaps. I don’t know anyone who admits to being a fan of Bade Ache Lagte Hain or Balika Vadhu, but we’re all about who kissed who at whose party on that-show-where-mere-17 year olds-dress-like-Tyra-Banks.

I have had a lot of conversations about this with people my age and people like my parents (who are usually connoisseurs of both hindi and English soaps), and the only real difference seems to be; the way people dress on Hindi soaps and the slow-motion sequences. Just last week, Sakshi watched her not-really-but-kinda husband Ram Kapoor walk down the stairs; the lights dimmed, the music got louder and her eyes twinkled. Ten minutes of a 30 minute show. It is the exaggeration of emotions that make them so cloying and annoying.

brotherssisters

Divorces, gay marriage, drugs and illegitimate children are dealt with better in say, a Parenthood than they are in the Hindi serials. Not that they’re aren’t multiple divorces and a crop of illegitimate children in these shows as well but they are definitely less dramatic and more real.

But honestly, reality isn’t a strong forte of soaps in English or Hindi. Take One Tree Hill, for example (now showing season 1 to 9 on Star World. I might as well just quit my job now). The two half-brothers have been married, had babies, changed sexual orientation, dated pretty much everyone in their town before turning 25. I think the Rafters are a family that has probably faced every problem to have ever befallen humanity in just a few months. Liking these shows but bad mouthing the Hindi ones is just a case of double standards.

Not to say that if you like Brothers and Sisters, you must like Diya aur Bati, you can have preferences but then dissing “K-serials” is a bit weird.  I’m pretty open about watching English soaps and hating myself for it. I guess that makes me feel better.

Not the voice of my generation

Not the voice of my generation

There’s a scene in Season 2 of Girls where Marnie announces that she’s got a new job as a hostess at a club. She’s wearing her uniform: high-waisted shorts and suspenders. (Elijah tells her she looks like a slutty Von Trapp child. Haha.) Her friend and former roommate Hannah, who is as usual by the fridge stuffing her face, says she would never work there because SHE has made an active choice not to sell out her gender. Ouch. Lets forget that both girls have taken jobs that are clearly meant to make rent, given the economy has rendered it impossible for them to make money at jobs they are qualified it. So, let’s call you un-feminist because you’re doing what it takes to make it in the city.

Increasingly, I have become disgruntled with the characters in Girls, and indeed the whole show, which is sad considering I loved it to death in its first season. For starters, since season 2 premiered last week, it became evident that the writers should change the name to Girl, or Hannah since Lena Dunham’s character occupies all the episodes screen time. Very little Marnie, a slim bunch of scenes with Jessa and worst of all HARDLY ANY SHOSHANNA WHO IS TOTES THE MOST AMAZE PERSON ON THE SHOW. While the dialogue still holds a semblance of sharpness, the characters (the character) are starting to grate on my nerves.

girls001-4_3_rx512_c680x510

It was all very well in season one, where Hannah and gang had to establish the plight of a young person living a hardscrabble existence in tougher-than-nails New York. Part time jobs that make the rent, long term boyfriends that have started to piss you off, jerk boys you obsess about and get bored of when they start liking you…I got all of that. There’s even a scene in season one where Hannah has just found out her ex boyfriend is gay. She’s messed up about it, but instead she starts dancing in her room. Have I ever had “All-my Life has been a lie’ moments and then literally started dancing with a friend right after? Yes. Which is why I was looking forward to season two. But if the show has tried to bring back the kind of spontaneous freshness of that moment, it has failed and that’s me being nice about it.

Hannah has done a fair bit of annoying things this season. She broke up with Sandy (who breaks up with Troy?) because he didn’t like her essay and she threw a fit about it and put it down to “wouldn’t date someone who didn’t respect women and gays.” Please!

Be a confused toss-up of defiance and insecurity, “Oh you’re saying I’m not good looking enough for a pretty girl job?” As a person who always sees slights where none are intended, I get that Hannah can be insecure about her looks and her writing but she should at least rein it in. Or try to.  Getting snarky when Marnie got her waitress job. Just say, good for you, and move on like a friend. You work at Grumpy’s and Ray is your boss for heaven sake. (Though Ray is amazing btw. Love that guy)

In any case, I am still giving Girls a chance. I would perhaps be ready to forgive the increasing annoyance of Hannah, if Lena Dunham writes in scenes with the rest of the cast. You’ll understand my not wanting to spend thirty minutes of my week dealing with all the problems in Hannah-world.

Er, close the door on your way out

Er, close the door on your way out

A very important lesson that many shows must learn is quitting while you’re ahead. Sometimes, a great story stops being interesting if you take more than 8 years to say it. A lot of shows in the past have done it (I’m looking at you, post Topher Grace That 70’s show) and there are way too many shows, still on air that have overstayed their welcome.

Two and a half men: Currently in its 10th season and with talks of an 11th, this show should have ended many many many seasons ago. I’m a fan of Jon Cryer and to some extent, Charlie Sheen. Their banter was fun to watch in the initial seasons but after a point, the jokes got predictable and the plot lines got thinner than Anushka Sharma. I would be totally open to forgive the few weak seasons if they had shut it all down after Sheen left but they got Aston Kutcher in and now I can’t even stand to watch the ads.

The Office: The Office (the US version) is one of the finest and funniest shows I have ever seen. It is currently in its 9th season and it makes me so sad that every new episode now feels like a burden to watch out of respect, if nothing else. It barely manages to make it past the average line and that’s pretty bad for a show that has made me fall of a chair laughing on many occasions. They should have ended when Steve Carell left in that beautiful episode that was a perfect combination of laughs and tears and that is how I like to remember this show.

IMG_0409

How I met your mother: A guy telling his kids the story of how he met their mother while he lived in New York with a bunch of friends. A great premise that should ideally lend itself to 4 seasons, or 5 if I’m being benevolent. HIMYM just completed its 8th season with no sign of the mother or good writing and it breaks my heart.

Grey’s Anatomy: I have now invested seven years on this show. It is in its 9th season and a season 10 may or may not be on the way, but I have watched it, with dedication for 7 whole years. In an ideal world, Grey’s should have ended with five seasons. With the last episode being Derek and Meredith’s post-it wedding. And that entire Izzie imagining Denny bit should have been omitted. Also, Owen Hunt should have been introduced much much sooner. In an ideal world.

30 Rock: I absolutely love Tina Fey and everything about 30 Rock. I love Jack Donaghy, I love Jenna, I love all of Lemon’s boyfriends, I love Subash but the show should have ended with five seasons and its current season being it’s 5th. This season is actually quite brilliant, I just wish it had come sooner and I didn’t have to watch two seasons that made me question whether it was actually ever funny.

Time’s Top 10 lists are out and other stories

Time’s Top 10 lists are out and other stories

It’s that time of the year again; We spent a day poring over Time’s Top 10 everything of 2012 and especially loved the list of best TV episodes. It totally gave us another excuse to gasp, laugh, cry and discuss great shows some more. You’re right. We actually don’t need an excuse to do that. Also, the book list has of course, been bookmarked.

Speaking of top 10 lists; here’s Emily Nassbaum of The New Yorker on why she hates top 10 lists but here’s her list of why 2012 has been a great year for television.

The promo of the second season of Girls is out. This is of course followed by news of Lena Dunham’s book deal that has been bought for 3.7 million dollars by Random House. Gawker has excerpts and quotes here. They seem fun but 3.7 million dollars fun? We are not sure.

We quite enjoyed reading Jon Michaud’s story pointing out, with good reasons, why The Hobbit is better than The Lord of the Rings.

So we’ve always been pretty unashamed of our fan girl love for Amy Pohler. Here’s Buzzfeed telling us 30 lessons we learned from Pohler this year.

Not that it makes any difference to our lives, but Emerald Green is Pantone’s colour of 2013. Just FYI.

 

– Sharanya

Gushing over The Inbetweeners, because I can

Gushing over The Inbetweeners, because I can

The great thing about writing for your own website is that nothing ever really gets put away. No story is too dated because see, if Small Fry was a publication, I would never have been able to have my little gush about The Inbetweeners, an old show (E4 aired the pilot in 2008) that I recently discovered and loved instantly.

The Inbetweeners follows the misadventures of four teenage boys in some humdrum English town that for some reason reminds me of Pune. The characters are amusing, though they somehow become caricatures of a type. There’s the uptight Will, also the narrator of the show, who wears blazers over his school sweater and is unbelievably pretentious and stuffy. There’s the naive Simon, who somehow gets cuter as he gets more pathetic. There’s the little pervert Jay who’s got plenty of British swagger and who believes he’s irresistible (he’s not) and then Neil, the dumb one, who personifies the adage, ignorance is bliss. The show has incredible tight plots, razor sharp dialogue and thankfully, the teenage angst is kept to a bare minimum. And despite its obviously exaggerated comic sequences, a lot of the banter seems real.

inbetweeners

The boys have all agreed that Will’s mother is “fit” and insist on holding long drawn out conversations involving their fantasies of her in front of Will. It’s this kind of light hearted rubbish that makes the episode easy to digest, but not in a moronic way. After weeks of watching shows like Breaking Bad and Homeland, it feels good to just sit back and laugh. And oh, the way I laughed. I have this theory that things just sound funnier in a British accent and it’s no secret that the more slang a show gives me, the happier I get. Of course, I wouldn’t know if it is legitimate British schoolboy slang, but get this… A party with girls is a “party knee deep in Muff or Cludge.” (Don’t ask), and for some absurd reason being gay is “being bent.” I mean, who cares if it’s realistic?

Also, one character I’m particularly fond of is the irate, bitingly witty, sometimes downright evil head of the Sixth Form, Mr Gilbert. That could be because years of reading the Just William series has given me a certain soft spot for evil school headmasters who viciously pour hate-orade on their students. (Snape did have the funniest lines) Seriously though, out of the million reasons you should watch the Inbetweeners, Gilbert is in the top five. Great unwholesome, laugh till you cry entertainment is number one.

Happy Ending vs Friends

Happy Ending vs Friends

Every book about youthful angst isn’t trying to be The catcher in the rye and every sitcom about a group of friends isn’t trying to be Friends.

Friends and TV watchers, today I urge you to stop quoting, talking about and mostly importantly, comparing new shows to Friends. Friends was something beautiful that happened to our lives. We laughed, we cried, we wished people would get off planes for us but now, it is time to let it go.Let it go, I say. I know it’s tough and it will take time but this is 2012 and really, we need to move on and fill the Friends shaped hole in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them as much as you do; their incessant coffee-drinking, their sexual exploits, their hilarious jokes, everything. But I’m really tired of critics comparing every new show about a bunch of friends with Friends. So, this column right here, is me defending the “friends rip-off” Happy Endings.

Happy Endings premiered last year on ABC and is currently in it second season. It is about Alex, Jane, Dave, Penny, Max and Brad, a group of friends who live in Chicago. Alex and Jane are sisters, Jane is married to Brad, Alex left Dave at the altar, Max is a lazy gay dude and Penny is the crazy, obnoxious goof.

The show fills us to our hearts content with witty banter (one of the few things I love in television dramas), pop culture references (not obscure and brilliant like Community but real ones I could use in general conversation) and the absolute whacky plot lines (the believable kind. Not the ‘only happens on TV kind’).

The show never treats love and romance too seriously but understands so much about it. The comedy is intelligent yet downright silly. The actors bring a sense of improvisation to it, which makes it look unwound, like a real group of friends hanging out. Casey Wilson who plays Penny brings her in-your face physical comedy to the show. Sure, intelligent comedy is lovely but falling down a flight of stairs is just rib-hurting hilarious.

In an early episode of Community, Abed mentions how he is Chandler and Annie is Phoebe (“they never really had stories together”). (I guess he forgot the famous contest to see whether Chandler would finally admit he was doing Monica) And that strikes me as something really important. In Happy Endings, everyone is friends with everyone. The group comprises of spouses, exes and siblings, yet Jane is friends with Max and Dave and Alex are fully formed characters and not two halves of a couple.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that every show about a rat pack, whether it is How I met your mother or It’s always sunny in Philadelphia isn’t trying to be Friends. Let go of the comparisons. A bunch of oddball friends hanging out is not really the most novel sitcom format but more than one good show can come out of it.

 

%d bloggers like this: