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It is that time of the decade where one stares at their music collection and promptly regrets buying 95% of the music they now own.  Everyone does it. Okay, maybe I do it.  I buy a lot of music, so much so my children are convinced that I actually buy milk at the local vinyl store and bread from iTunes. This small habit has created a massive music collection that can be somewhat unwieldy.  It doesn’t stop me from gathering up hundreds of albums from the past decade and asking myself a very simple question:

If I could only save fifty of these albums from the past ten years, what fifty would it be?

It would be easy for me to write-up a list in which only Green Day, and White Stripes albums are on it, simply because they produced amazing albums this decade. I could have simply gone with my kids suggestion and made the list all about Hannah Montana and the Wiggles. That was tempting, they could have written it for me.

My criteria was simple. First- I must have actually listened to it. I still have a couple of albums in the plastic. Most of these albums were gifts from well-meaning people who thought that I really needed Daniel Bedingfield’s album.

Second-  How often did I listen to this album? Having the most listens didn’t mean that it would be number one.  Music is very much my day between the hours of six a.m. and six p.m. There are albums on this list I only listened to once and found so compelling that I felt it needed to be on the list. Most I have listened to so often my CD player refuses to open to play them again and my iTunes has decided that they are the only artists I listen to.

Lastly- I must have had fun listening to it at some point. Dreary music is of no interest to me. That doesn’t mean sad music is ignored for the oeuvre of Britney Spears. On the contrary, I find Britney Spears to be enormously depressing. But her greatest hits album makes for a delightful coaster.

The list, in full, after the break.

(more…)

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Friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget.-Amanda Kunkle

During the course of watching American Idol  season 7, I began writing recaps on Entertainment Weekly’s old TV Fan site, where they allowed for blog posts to be done by the general public. It was part review central, part social networking, and part funny farm. I was just curious to see if anyone would read one of my recaps, since my blog at that time was getting absolutely no hits. It was just a lark, and I had no intention of pushing it past the first couple.

While perusing the site one evening, I came across a hilariously written and slightly naughty recap written by someone nicknamed Bitten. I just had to comment on it, and I told her what a crazy person she was. She responded on my own recap, and a new and deeply important ( to me) friendship was born that very night.

L, as I’m gonna call her for the sake of privacy for her family, was completely unlike anyone I had ever known. She was open, profane, smart, beautiful, loyal, sexy, generous, warm, and mostly she was fun. We would never physically meet, but we would spend hours online, chatting away about our kids and life in general. Most people would probably dismiss our relationship as somewhat shallow, but they would be missing the point of our relationship entirely. She lived in Tennessee, I lived in Canada, we bonded over a frivolous thing, but we still chose to be friends not by chance or by location, but by the fact that from the instant we started communicating, we understood each other.

We had rules- she was a Southern conservative, and I’m a Canuck liberal, so we never discussed politics. But we also encouraged each other to be open and honest about everything else. We never censored our selves or any others. We encouraged each other to dream and to follow through on those dreams. With the help of others, we ended up creating a new community for those who wanted to join in our insanity, and now we have hundreds of members, and a growing circle of friends, both close and acquaintances, to rely on. While real life has taken a toll on me and my ability to participate as I once did, L maintained it and loving cultivated this world, and for that, We all referred to her as Queen B.

L, though, was mostly my champion. My Tawanda girls always encouraged my writing from the start. I often feel that they have more faith in me than they should, but they also make me feel that I really do have a knack for what I love, and they are the first people in my life to really push me to do what I am now doing. L was the first person who saw my screenplay, and I was adamant she give her complete and honest opinion. She gave it, man, did she give it. She said every word with love and I respected her all the more for it, because she knew what she was saying could potentially hurt my feelings. I keep her Adobe’d copy of the screenplay with notes on my computer to refer to as I carefully rewrite it, and I hope to finish it one day soon.

L loved her girls, the wide net of women who collected together on a single website then expanded into real life trips and inside jokes abut blue drinks, diverse guilty pleasure music and television, stories about our kids insanity, and the ultimate belief that when push came to shove, we’d all be there to save each other from whatever was wrong in our lives. Through illnesses, birthdays, losses, marriages- L was always there with a plan, a joke, a song, a smile. She knew our secrets and our fantasies, and she never judged you on them or your other idiosyncratic habits. She knew I’m a mess in my head, but she was nothing but encouraging and comforting, pointing out my flaws when she needed to and reminding me of my strengths when I needed the reminder. I, in turn, admired her ferocious force of nature. Even online, when she walked into the chat room, she shined like a shiny new penny.

A lot of the time, though, we’d talk about writing. She was always saying how much she admired my writing. I was in awe of her skills. She would insist she wasn’t a writer, but anyone who has ever read a Bitten blog post or one of her many online stories knows she was, at her heart, a word lover and an amazing story-teller. I’m so glad we were smart enough to save all of the TV Fan blog columns before they disappeared into cyber purgatory, and they are there to remind us of her talent and humor and slightly twisted world view.

As my screenplay is finished, as my novel is finished, as anything I am currently working on is finished, it will be finished with a heavy heart. I learned last week that my dear friend and beloved partner in crime passed away. She leaves behind her family and two young children, but also a community of girlfriends who will miss her wisdom and her joy. 

I spent the better part of the week crying and shaking, stunned by the news. It’s always tragic when someone so young dies. All I can think about was the last thing we talked about was the upcoming season of American Idol, which I still write about extensively for my own amusement and the amusement of the world we belong to. It was just a short tweet on Twitter, but it was welcomed. There were also some jokes about needing a coffee bong, as L liked to mock my expensive Starbucks addiction. We hadn’t been nearly as active over the summer together as we had been. Real life does sometimes interfere with the idealized life you create for yourselves in cyber land. I know she was supposed to meet up with a couple of mutual girlfriends for a concert. I was looking forward to hearing about it.

Now, I am feeling heavy-hearted and deeply sad. And the first thing I did  when I sat down to work on my writing was change the dedication on my novel. It’s now dedicated to the two women who always believed in me- my mother, who passed in 2000, and my darling friend L, who never wavered in her belief that I could be something great.

Queen B, you will be truly missed, and I love you. And I promise to use hyphens.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.- Anonymous

” Though I know I’ll never lose affection/ For people and things that went before/ I know I’ll often stop and think about them/ In my life, I love you more.”- John Lennon

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5:50 Going for a quick cigarette outside before awards begin.

6:00 Opening spiel, then NPH singing in a white dinner jacket. Yummy.

6:04 ” I grew up on television.”

6:05 Shaiman and Whitman wrote the song. Knew it.

6:07 Tour of the Emmy set.

6:09 Funny Emmy clip reel.

6:11 Jon Hamm ( sigh) and Tina Fey ( sigh). Supporting Actress in a comedy.

6:12 WTF Chenoweth?

6:13 The winner is… Kristin Chenoweth (stunner shocker but happiness!) She sobs her way funnily through her speech. I wanna hug her.

6:08 Comedy categories first. I’m suddenly very nervous for hubby Jim Parsons.

6:21 Some Neil and Hodgman funnies, then a convenient plug for HIMYM.

6:22 So surprised 30 Rock won a writing award. (Sarcasm)

6:27 Jon Cryer wins. Why?

6:28 One very pissed off NPH/30 Rock fan right here. ARGH!

6:33 I’m very worried about the rest of my picks. I’m 1 for three. The one- writing.

6:35 Justin Timberlake presenting Actress in a Comedy series. And he’s funny and charming.

6:36 Toni Colette wins. I’m way off tonight. I’m trying to figure out what tonight is gonna be. Watch Charlie Sheen win in a couple of minutes.  This is turning into a nightmare show for me 9 although I like Toni and Kristin, I like their shows, but I honestly thought they wouldn’t win).

6:39 NPH asks Cryer to show the envelope. It really does say ” Jon Cryer”.

6:41 The GG girls turn it over to Tina and JT, who thank Lorne Michaels for their Guest Actor wins. Then the GG girls present  Best Comedy direction to The Office’s Jeff Blitz.

6:48 Rob Lowe presenting Actor in a comedy. He mocks himself.

6:52 I’m gonna drink an entire bottle of wine right now and drown ,y tears because Jim Parsons did not win.

7:29 I have spent the last forty minutes trying to fix a computer crash. Rundown- Reality shows no surprise, mini/TV movies are pretty ho hum. Dr. Horrible- hilarious! Love the buffering jokes. And Captain Hammer to boot. Jessica Lange beats out Drew Barrymore.

7:59 Apparently Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco were on stage with Jim Parsons when he presented. I didn’t notice as I laid at the foot of my TV stand staring worshipfully at a comedy God who was robbed of his Emmy. Really, I need a life.

8:01 I do not have a problem. All of you shut up.

8:02 Jimmy Fallon won as a member of the SNL writing team, right?

8:03 Jimmy is making me laugh. He hasn’t done this since he was on SNL.

8:05 It has to be “Motherlover”. Seriously.

8:05 It’s the Oscars team. Are you kidding me?

8:06 Ricky Gervais. Worshiping at the feet of the king.

8:07 ” Me, again.” HA!

8:08 Gervais present best comedy variety show to The Daily Show. Never disappointed when TDS gang wins. As I am also much in ,love with Jon Stewart. Have been since his MTV talk show in the mid 90s.

8:16 Prezzie time. But no Prezzie speech. Thank God.

8:17 Drama time. Great. Night should be ending soon. Crushing disappointments tonight. Cryer/Baldwin just took me out.

8:19 LL and Chris O’Donnell not funny at all. Supporting Actor goes to… Michael Emerson. My best friend Rosie probably just screamed with joy. I still couldn’t tell you what role he played.

8:21 Chris and LL also doing Supporting Actress. And that award goes to Cherry Jones.  Who is a theater goddess, so we are delighted.

8:23 In Memorium.

8:33 Hot vampires!

8:35 Ellen Burstyn and Michael J. Fox present directing for drama.

8:36 The award goes to the E.R. dude.

8:37 Now they present drama writing. I’m guessing… Mad Men.

8:38 Yeah, shocker again (Sarcasm).

8:39 Yeah, I’m one of those guys at Starbucks with a computer or notebook, writing away.

8:40 Simon ” Hot accent” Baker is presenting the actress drama award to Glenn Close. I am WAY OFF  with these damn acting awards this year. WTF?

8:44 Right now I’m kinda hoping Hugh Laurie wins and makes me 0-for-eight for acting awards.

8: 48 Dana Delaney presents Actor in a drama.  Bryan Cranston wins. This is the one I get right. And he rightfully deserves it. His performance is searing.

8:52 Bob Newhart presents Best Comedy. And drones on a bit.  But has some good lines.

8:54 30 Rock. Which is about as surprising as me eating peanut M&Ms.

8:56 I have never been so unhappy to see Cat Deeley in my life. I want my final award.

9:00 Emmys are going over.

9:00 I’m actually looking forward to Criminal Minds.

9:01 Sigourney Weaver presents best drama to Mad Men. No effing surprise.

That is it for the night and the year. Early surprises in acting awards turn into a night where many repeat winners come along.  Still crushed about Jim Parsons losing. May never be okay again…

Can’t wait until The Big Bang Theory premieres tomorrow night.

Till the next one ( Golden Globes in January, everyone!)

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Mondays:

CBS: How I Met Your Mother (8 pm EST), The Big Bang Theory (9:30 EST)

NBC: Heroes ( 8 pm EST), Chuck ( beginning in March 2010)

Fox: House ( 8 pm EST), Lie To Me ( 9 pm EST)

CW: Gossip Girl ( 9 pm EST)

ABC: Dancing With The Stars ( 8 pm EST), Castle ( 10 pm EST)

Mondays are again cluttered with good TV and fan faves. Expect Castle to see  ratings to increase as NBC replaces scripted TV with Jay Leno, Fox and CW go local,  and CBS airs the aging but still popular CSI: Miami.  Also, Big Bang will likely become the most watched scripted show on a Monday by May. Yes, it will surpass lead in Two and a Half Men. HIMYM  at 8 pm, as well as it’s 100th episode, may seal this sitcom’s fate. I predict that unless there is a serious ratings bump and it does a better anchoring job than in the past, this will be HIMYM final season. Heroesis in turmoil after two seasons of disappointing stories and uneven episodes, and the fans are leaving in droves. Only a section of diehards are here, and we’re holding out hope that Tim Kring turns it around. Introducing a new villain, as much as we all love Sylar, will help. CW still has the corner on the youth buzz market, but One Tree Hill  is past it’s prime, and Gossip Girl  needs less shock value, more actual story telling. All the whispers about the House  season six premiere being amazing leads me to believe House’s break down is going to revive the aging series and give Hugh Laurie something new to do.  Lead out Lie To Me still has two things going for it- an intriguing premise and Tim Roth. The biggest disappointments are the fact none of NBC’s one hour dramas, including Monday night entry Trauma, seem to be worthy of my time, and Chuck  won’t be back until March. Unless, of course, NBC’s entire fall sked falls apart. Which it will.

Tuesdays:

CBS:  NCIS ( 8 pm EST), NCIS: Los Angeles ( 9 pm EST), The Good Wife ( 10 pm EST)

NBC: forget it.

Fox: So You Think You Can Dance ( 8 pm EST), American Idol ( January 2010)

CW: destroying the happy memories of my youth.

ABC: V (November 2009), DWTS Results show ( 9 pm)

Frankly, I’m not a huge NCIS  fan, I refuse to watch the new CW revivals of early 90s Fox shows, so outside of Fox’s dance and singing programs and the very promising looking CBS drama The Good Wife, the only thing I’m waiting for is V. I’m a geek, yes.

Wednesdays:

CBS: Criminal Minds ( 9 pm EST)

NBC: Nope.

Fox: SYTYCD Results Show ( 8 pm EST), Glee ( 9 pm EST), Idol Results Show ( January 2010, well, more like February 2010)

CW: America’s Next Top Model ( 8 pm EST)

ABC: Modern Family ( 9 pm EST)

I have faith that Criminal Mindswill find its way back after an uneven season that has given us a couple of classic episodes and several clunkers, but I’m such a Gleek that for the first time I’m really compelled to watch something besides my favorite BAU gang. Fox has put so much money into the musical dramedy that picking up the back nine is a good bet. NBC has nothing new to offer, really, just SVU and the disappointing looking Mercy. Modern Family  is the most interesting looking sitcom not on NBC Thursdays.

Thursdays:

CBS: The Mentalist ( 10 pm EST)

NBC: Community ( October 2009), Parks and Recreation ( 8:30 pm EST), The Office (9:00 pm EST), 30 Rock ( 9:30 pm EST)

Fox: Bones ( 8 pm EST), Fringe ( 9 pm EST)

CW: neither show is on my radar.

ABC: I’ve stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy.  No George, no me.

It’s either indulge my Comedy geek or indulge my science geek. Right now, I’m leaning to the science geek, as rewatching Fringe over the summer has reminded me that this is a really good show and deserves my patronage. And I’m still a Bones  fan. But giving up NBC’s one solidly good night of TV is a tough one. This may be the night I’m grateful for reruns. At least there is no Sophie’s Choice at 10, where I can watch Simon Baker’s charming performance on The Mentalist  all I want. I’m not into vampire love triangles and I’ve never been an avid Supernatural fan, and ABC’s soapy line up leaves me cold.

Fridays:

CBS:  I don’t watch any of them.

NBC: Or them.

Fox: Dollhouse (9 pm EST)

CW: Never watched Smallville.

ABC: Ugly Betty ( 9 pm EST)

Push comes to shove, it’s Dollhouse. I would follow Joss Whedon to the grave and I refuse to give up on this interesting but not yet great show. If it proves to infuriating, I’ll let the Betty gang continue to crush my heart with it’s continued downward spiral.

Saturdays and Sundays:

CBS: The Amazing Race ( 8 pm EST), Three Rivers ( 9 pm EST) ( both on Sunday)

NBC:  nada

Fox: The Simpsons ( 8 pm EST), the Seth McFarlane 90 minute block ( 8:30 pm EST)

CW: literally nothing. CW has dropped weekend programming.

ABC: can someone tell me why these shows are all still on?

ABC’s very tired line up of warm-hearted sob stories and drippy soapy dramedies has gotten boring. CW has nothing on. NBC has football. There is literally NOTHING on Saturday nights, and only CBS and Fox have anything worth watching on Sundays. Fox’s two hour comedy block is solid entertainment, still amusing, even if The Simpsons, entering it’s trillionth season, is creaking a bit ( it can still knock an episode out of the park once a season though). I’m not the biggest fan of Seth McFarlane’s work, but I certainly don’t begrudge him his phenomenal success. When I do watch The Family Guy I do laugh quite a bit. And The Cleveland Show is rumored to have more heart in the mix. CBS has the always reliable 60 Minutes,  and I love The Amazing Race, but launching Three Riverson Sundays is a bit of a gutsy move. CBS has a lot of faith in this show. I’m an Alex O’Loughlin fan, but I’m a bit worried about it.

Other shows to watch over the season:

HBO: Real Time With Bill Maher ( Fridays), Curb Your Enthusiasm (fall 2009)

ABC: Lost ( presumably Wednesdays, January/February 2010)

AMC: Mad Men ( currently airing on Sundays, with reruns throughout the week), Breaking Bad ( 2010), The Prisoner ( 2009/2010)

FX: Damages, Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

TNT: The Closer

 NBC: The Olympics ( February 2010)

 

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On Emmy night ( September 20, 2009), I will be doing my Emmy commentary live through out the night. You’re all invited. Seriously.

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Best Drama

Big Love

Breaking Bad

Damages

Dexter

House

Lost

Mad Men

I know Mad Men  is the mega buzz show right now, I know Lost fans think that it is THE GREATEST SHOW EVER ( they’re wrong). House  and Dexter both buckled under their previous genius this past season, Big Love is pretty bland for something that’s supposed to be so controversial ( it’s just another family drama). Damages  has bright spots, almost all involving Glenn Close, but is wildly inconsistent. My pick is the searing, surprising Breaking Bad, which is quickly surpassing even Mad Men as my new favorite cable drama.

Best Comedy

Entourage

Family Guy

Flight of the Conchords

How I Met Your Mother

The Office

30 Rock

Weeds

I’m picking 30 Rock because the only sitcom better than it isn’t even nominated. ( All Big Bang Theory fans unite in your grief!) It’s not that 30 Rock is undeserving, it’s just that TBBT is much more consistent.

Best Television Movie

Coco Chanel

Grey Gardens

Into The Storm

Prayers for Bobby

Taking Chance

It was just sheer brilliance.

Best Reality Competition Series

The Amazing Race

American Idol

Dancing With The Stars

Project Runway

Top Chef

This is obviously a case between what I want and what I know. Project Runway  is one of my favorite shows in history, but it can’t compete with the exotic locales and sheer scope of CBS multiple award winning reality show.  The fact is, The Amazing Race is amazing.

Best Reality Series

Antiques Roadshow

Dirty Jobs

Dog Whisperer

Intervention

Kathy Griffin: My Life On the D List

Mythbusters

Kathy Griffin FTW.

 

Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Late Show with David Letterman

Real Time with Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

I’m sorry. I love Jon and Stephen to death, you know it, I know it. But Bill Maher has been a favorite of mine for years. I still disagree with ABC’s decision to scrap him, I admire HBO for not letting him go away into that good night, and Religulous was a thought provoking scream. Give him a goddamn Emmy.

Best Actor Drama

Simon Baker The Mentalist

Gabriel Byrne In Treatment

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad

Michael C. Hall Dexter

Jon Hamm Mad Men

Hugh Laurie House

While I’m still smarting about Hugh Laurie being Emmyless, Bryan Cranston is giving the best performance on television right now. I’m thinking Laurie’s time may have passed and James Spader has his Emmy.

Best Actor Comedy

Alec Baldwin 30 Rock

Steve Carrell The Office

Jermaine Clement Flight of the Conchords

Jim Parsons The Big Bang Theory

Tony Shaloub Monk

Charlie Sheen Two And A Half Men

Without question, Parsons is putting together a comedic performance that will go down in history. There is a very thin line he dances on between eccentric genius and hateful ass, but he plays it beautifully. For a character with little insight into the human condition, Parson’s Sheldon comes off as the most human of all. A lot of that credit must go to Parsons, who has an innate goodness and loads of charm. The two headed monster that is Alec Baldwin and Steve Carrell still have an excellent chance of winning, and one must never count Tony Shaloub out ( the Emmys love the guy). But my heart and soul believes that Parsons actually DESERVES it.

Best Actor Mini Series or Movie

Kevin Bacon Taking Chance

Kenneth Branagh Wallander: One Step Behind

Kevin Kline Cyrano de Bergerac: Great Performances

Brendan Gleeson Into The Storm

Sir Ian McKellan King Lear: Great Performances

Keifer Sutherland 24: Redemption

I never thought I would get a chance to see McKellen do Lear. I’m glad I got that chance, albeit on PBS. The highlight of my TV viewing life.

Best Actress Drama

Glenn Close Damages

Sally Field Brothers and Sisters

Mariska Hargitay Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Holly Hunter Saving Grace

Elisabeth Moss Mad Men

Kyra Sedgwick The Closer

Elisabeth Moss is so freakin’ good as Peggy Olson she has to win or there is no justice in this universe.

Best Actress Comedy

Christina Applegate Samantha Who?

Toni Colette United States of Tara

Julia Louis- Dreyfus The New Adventures of Old Christine

Tina Fey 30 Rock

Mary Louise Parker Weeds

Sarah Silverman The Sarah Silverman Program

Long time readers know I want to be Tina Fey when I grow up.

Best Actress Mini Series or Movie

Drew Barrymore Grey Gardens

Jessica Lange Grey Gardens

Shirley MacLaine Coco Chanel

Sigourney Weaver Prayers For Bobby

Chandra Wilson Accidental Friendship

It will be either Drew or Jessica, and I’m going with the former, because we forget what a good actor she is amongst the crazy that is her life.

Best Reality Host

Tom Bergeron Dancing With the Stars

Phil Keoghan The Amazing Race

Heidi Klum Project Runway

Padma Lakshimi and Tom Colicchio Top Chef

Jeff Probst Survivor

Ryan Seacrest American Idol

I have a bizarre crush on Tom Bergeron. And Cat Deely isn’t nominated.

Best Supporting Actor Drama

Christian Clemenson Boston Legal

Michael Emerson Lost

William Hurt Damages

Aaron Paul Breaking Bad

William Shatner Boston Legal

John Slattery Mad Men

Best supporting categories are the most prime for surprises, though if you have seen Breaking Bad, you know this is no surprise. Paul gives as good as he gets.

Best Supporting Actor Comedy

Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men

Kevin Dillon Entourage

Neil Patrick Harris How I Met Your Mother

Jack McBrayer 30 Rock

Tracy Morgan 30 Rock

Rainn Wilson The Office

Because I will not rest until Barney Stinson is awarded an Emmy.

Best Supporting Actress Drama

Rose Byrne Damages

Hope Davis In Treatment

Cherry Jones 24

Sandra Oh Grey’s Anatomy

Dianne Weist In Treatment

Chandra Wilson Grey’s Anatomy

Chandra Wilson is truly the heart and soul of Grey’s.

Best Supporting Actress Comedy

Kristen Chenoweth Pushing Daisies

Jane Krakowski 30 Rock

Elizabeth Perkins Weeds

Amy Poehler Saturday Night Live

Kristin Wiig Saturday Night Live

Vanessa L. Williams Ugly Betty

Jane Krakowski is one of my favorite actresses of all time.

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Emmy Nominees Announced!

Below are the nominees for the major categories of the Emmys nominations released earlier today. I will post my thoughts and picks in the near future, but needless to say, the Emmy voters got more right than usual, but why do people who hate television so much get to select what is the best of television?

 

Best Drama

Big Love

Breaking Bad

Damages

Dexter

House

Lost

Mad Men

Best Comedy

Entourage

Family Guy

Flight of the Conchords

How I Met Your Mother

The Office

30 Rock

Weeds

Best Television Mini Series

Generation Kill

Little Dorrit

Best Television Movie

Coco Chanel

Grey Gardens

Into The Storm

Prayers for Bobby

Taking Chance

Best Reality Competition Series

The Amazing Race

American Idol

Dancing With The Stars

Project Runway

Top Chef

Best Reality Series

Antiques Roadshow

Dirty Jobs

Dog Whisperer

Intervention

Kathy Griffin: My Life On the D List

Mythbusters

Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Special

Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush

Ricky Gervais: Out Of England

Kathy Griffin: She’ll Cut A Bitch

The Kennedy Center Honors

Chris Rock: Kill The Messenger

Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Late Show with David Letterman

Real Time with Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

Best Actor Drama

Simon Baker The Mentalist

Gabriel Byrne In Treatment

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad

Michael C. Hall Dexter

Jon Hamm Mad Men

Hugh Laurie House

Best Actor Comedy

Alec Baldwin 30 Rock

Steve Carrell The Office

Jermaine Clement Flight of the Conchords

Jim Parsons The Big Bang Theory

Tony Shaloub Monk

Charlie Sheen Two And A Half Men

Best Actor Mini Series or Movie

Kevin Bacon Taking Chance

Kenneth Branagh Wallander: One Step Behind

Kevin Kline Cyrano de Bergerac: Great Performances

Brendan Gleeson Into The Storm

Sir Ian McKellan King Lear: Great Performances

Keifer Sutherland 24: Redemption

Best Actress Drama

Glenn Close Damages

Sally Field Brothers and Sisters

Mariska Hargitay Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Holly Hunter Saving Grace

Elisabeth Moss Mad Men

Kyra Sedgwick The Closer

Best Actress Comedy

Christina Applegate Samantha Who?

Toni Colette United States of Tara

Julia Louis- Dreyfus The New Adventures of Old Christine

Tina Fey 30 Rock

Mary Louise Parker Weeds

Sarah Silverman The Sarah Silverman Program

Best Actress Mini Series or Movie

Drew Barrymore Grey Gardens

Jessica Lange Grey Gardens

Shirley MacLaine Coco Chanel

Sigourney Weaver Prayers For Bobby

Chandra Wilson Accidental Friendship

Best Reality Host

Tom Bergeron Dancing With the Stars

Phil Keoghan The Amazing Race

Heidi Klum Project Runway

Padma Lakshimi and Tom Colicchio Top Chef

Jeff Probst Survivor

Ryan Seacrest American Idol

Best Supporting Actor Drama

Christian Clemenson Boston Legal

Michael Emerson Lost

William Hurt Damages

Aaron Paul Breaking Bad

William Shatner Boston Legal

John Slattery Mad Men

Best Supporting Actor Comedy

Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men

Kevin Dillon Entourage

Neil Patrick Harris How I Met Your Mother

Jack McBrayer 30 Rock

Tracy Morgan 30 Rock

Rainn Wilson The Office

Best Supporting Actor Mini Series or Movie

Len Cariou Into The Storm

Tom Courteney Little Dorrit

Ken Howard Grey Gardens

Bob Newhart The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice

Andy Serkis Little Dorrit

Best Supporting Actress Drama

Rose Byrne Damages

Hope Davis In Treatment

Cherry Jones 24

Sandra Oh Grey’s Anatomy

Dianne Weist In Treatment

Chandra Wilson Grey’s Anatomy

Best Supporting Actress Comedy

Kristen Chenoweth Pushing Daisies

Jane Krakowski 30 Rock

Elizabeth Perkins Weeds

Amy Poehler Saturday Night Live

Kristin Wiig Saturday Night Live

Vanessa L. Williams Ugly Betty

Best Supporting Actress Mini Series or Movie

Shohreh Aghdashloo House of Saddam

Marcia Gay Harden The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Janet McTeer Into The Storm

Jeanne Triplehorn Grey Gardens

Cicely Tyson Relative Stranger

Best Actor in a Guest Role Drama

Ed Asner ER

Ted Danson Damages

Ernest Borgnine ER

Michael J. Fox Rescue Me

Jimmy Smits Dexter

Best Actor in a Guest Role Comedy

Alan Alda 30 Rock

Beau Bridges Desperate Housewives

Jon Hamm 30 Rock

Steve Martin 30 Rock

Justin Timberlake Saturday Night Live

Best Actress in a Guest Role Drama

Brenda Blethyn Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Carol Burnett  Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Ellen Burstyn  Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Sharon Lawrence Grey’s Anatomy

CCH Pounder No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Best Actress in a Guest Role Comedy

Jennifer Aniston 30 Rock

Christine Baranski The Big Bang Theory

Tina Fey Saturday Night Live

Gena Rowlands Monk

Elaine Stritch 30 Rock

Betty White My Name Is Earl

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It’s that time of year, folks! This Thursday, the Emmy nominees will be read out by former nominee Chandra Wilson and sure to a first time nominee Jim Parsons. It’ll make my five am wake up call somewhat bearable to have this on the TV.

Below is the list of nominees I suspect will happen and frankly, pretty much as it should be.

Best Supporting Actor- Drama

Jeremy Davies (Lost)

Walton Goggins ( The Shield)

Robert Sean Leonard ( House)

John Noble ( Fringe)

Aaron Paul ( Breaking Bad)

William Shatner ( Boston Legal)

I’m not a watcher of Lost, but everyone I know has been raving about Davies’ performance this season. I’m troubled more by the fact Goggins has NEVER BEEN NOMINATED. Tragic. Also quite tragic is Leonard, who also has NEVER BEEN NOMINATED. What the hell, Emmys? Goggins and Leonard both have been the heart of their respective shows, and Goggins’ character went down swinging in The Shields final season. Leonard still doesn’t have a lot to do on House, but there were moments toward the end of the season where you see how important he really is to the show’s mythology. Noble’s delightfully off kilter performance on Fringehas been the most consistent thing about the show. Aaron Paul goes toe to toe with the incomparable Bryan Cranston every week and survives. And lastly, William Shatner is William fucking Shatner. He’s James T. Kirk and you’re not. Suck it.

Dark horse pick- Zachary Quinto (Heroes)

The best thing about this show for the past two seasons is Quinto’s steady, ferocious turn as the psychopathic Sylar. Bad writing doesn’t detract from this singular performance.

Best Supporting Actress- Drama

Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)

Rose Byrne (Damages)

Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy)

Christina Hendricks ( Mad Men)

Alison Pill ( In Treatment)

CCH Pounder (The Shield)

Again, Britton is on a show I don’t watch, but everyone keeps raving about her in particular. Byrne is on a show with a strong female lead and she holds her own beautifully. Heigl may be a brat, but she brought some soul back to GA after the ghost sex ( again, bad writing should not detract from a good performance). Hendricks is so stunning that it’s easy to forget her subtle work in Mad Men. Pill has been the only patient in the second season of In Treatmentthat I felt was compelling enough for me to turn into watch every week. And Pounder’s beleaguered Claudette remains one of the great female characters in the cannon of cop dramas.

Dark horse pick- Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy)

The true heart and soul of GA, she deserves it more than Heigl, but lacks the star power of the movie star, or the shock and awe storyline. But when I do sit and watch this show, she’s the real reason why.

Best Supporting Actor-Comedy

Adam Baldwin (Chuck)

Neil Patrick Harris ( How I Met Your Mother)

Simon Helberg ( The Big Bang Theory)

Tracy Morgan ( 30 Rock)

Jeremy Piven ( Entourage)

Jason Segel ( How I Met Your Mother)

I honestly think Baldwin’s Col. John Casey is Chuck‘s best acting shot- because even though he’s a closed off grunting hard ass, Baldwin never let’s us forget his humanity or his humor. The fact Harris has not won an Emmy is one of the great crimes. Helberg’s horny nerd from hell is surprisingly well drawn for a character that was originally an after thought. Piven still rocks the world on Entourage.Morgan’s dim witted comedian is now my favorite character on a show full of brilliant writing and acting. Segel has been so good for so long on HIMYM.He may get outshone by Harris’ flashier role, but it’s time to give Segel some lovin’,  too.

dark horse pick: Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Oh. My. God. Naivete has never been so funny.

Best Supporting Actress- Comedy

Portia de Rossi ( Better Off Ted)

Jenna Fisher ( The Office)

Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)

Jean Smart (Samantha Who?)

Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)

Vanessa L. Williams (Ugly Betty)

de Rossi has a habit of appearing on quirky comedies ( see: Ally McBeal, Arrested Development), but her ice queen boss takes the cake. Fisher still makes me care about the Jim-Pam story by being true to the moment. Krakowski’s over the top deluded diva had some brilliant moments this season ( in blackface, no less.) Smart won last year, and she still shines as Samantha’s over bearing mom. Smulders went from being the weak link on HIMYM to being it’s hidden gem, and I love the Canadianisms she clearly contributes to the writers for those awesome scripts. Betty  may be fading fast, but Williams’ Wilhemina is still the grandest grande dame of them all.

Dark horse pick- Alyson Hannigan ( How I Met Your Mother)

It’s tough to leave Hannigan out, since she had a truly great season despite being pregnant for most of it ( and absent for four weeks). Her Lily, the beer guzzling, potty mouthed kindergarten teacher, is a bright light in my dreary life.

Best Actor-Drama

Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment)

Michael Chiklis (The Shield)

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Jon Hamm (Mad Men)

Hugh Laurie (House)

Denis Leary ( Rescue Me)

Byrne’s detailed performance as a shrink in need of help of his own is one of the finest wrought of the year. Chiklis (  former winner for this role) went down and was brilliant in the way he portrayed his character’s twisted logic and decaying worldview. Cranston is nearly unstoppable as the teacher with nothing to lose. Hamm’s suave, subdued performance seems to be almost forgotten with the bright lights of the women this season, but he was darkly brilliant.  Laurie is a perennial nominee and will be till his show ends or he wins one of these goddamnedthings. He’s so singularly brilliant he deserves every accolade.  And even though Rescue Me had an off season, Leary just keeps getting better. 

dark horse pick- Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)

Because it’s a tough category, I don’t know if he’ll squeeze in.  But from what I have heard, Chandler’s performance is one of the best on TV.

Best Actress-Drama

Glenn Close ( Damages)

Mariska Hargitay ( Law and Order: Special Victims Unit)

January Jones ( Mad Men)

Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)

Anna Paquin ( True Blood)

Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)

Close won last year. Her ferocious turn this year is even better. Hargitay is another perennial nominee who delivers solid performances year in, year out. Jones and Moss both shined on a show that saw their character grow from meek women used by the men in their lives to fiercely independent minded pre feminist heroines. Paquin’s accent may be distracting, but her slightly slatterly, tempermental Sookie is a gem. And Sedgwickis just so good I had to include her. 

dark horse pick- Mary McDonnell ( Battlestar Galactica)

Another show I never quite got around to watching, another performance I have heard nothing but praise for, another show leaving the air, last shot for the gold.

Best Actor-Comedy

Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)

Kyle Bornheimer (Worst Week)

Steve Carrell ( The Office)

Lee Pace ( Pushing Daisies)

Jim Parsons ( The Big Bang Theory)

Charlie Sheen ( Two And A Half Men)

We have a couple of clueless bosses ( Baldwin’s Machiavellian Jack Donaghy, Carrell’s hapless Michael Scott). We have a smooth talking womanizer on a show i personally hate but kind of like him on it despite myself ( Sheen’s jingle writer Charlie Harper). We have a newcomer on a show that was cancelled just as it began to find it’s footing ( Bornheimer), playing a spazz to end all spazzes. We have a charming pie maker who can raise the dead on a single touch, making it really hard to make out with his girlfriend ( Pace’s melancholic Ned). And then we have a genius comic creation, a genius who is both OCD and clueless ( Parson’s hilarious Sheldon Cooper).

dark horse pick- Zachary Levi (Chuck)

My favorite performance by any comedic actor this year was in Chuck season two finale, at turns sad, charming, and thrilling. The show would not work without him. I hope Emmy voters notice.

Best Actress- Comedy

Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?)

Toni Colette ( The United States of Tara)

America Ferrera ( Ugly Betty)

Tina Fey (30 Rock)

Julia Louis Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine)

Mary Louise Parker (Weeds)

Applegate is well liked in the industry and I liked her on her show. Colette has a really tough road to hold and does it admirably well. Ferrera still sparkles through the dreariness that is Ugly Betty. Fey is my hero and I want to be like her when I grow up. Louis Dreyfus is on a much improved show that she was always good on ( now, she’s pretty fantabulous). Parker handles the more dramatic moments of her drug dramedy as effectively as the high comedy moments.

dark horse pick- Kaley Cuoco ( The Big Bang Theory)

It’s easy to dismiss her as another blonde starlet on a TV show, but she is so much more than that. She grounds the four male leads in a snese of reality, she’s the every(wo)man we need to handle the world of these four geniuses. Her role is harder than it looks and she does it better than I ever thought she would. Her growth as an actor this past season is welcomed.

Best Drama

Breaking Bad

House

In Treatment

Lost

Mad Men

The Shield

It honestly will come down to the two AMC dramas, but as much as I love Mad Men, I think Breaking Bad is even more ground breaking, earth shattering, and ultimately, a better show.

Dark horse pick- Friday Night Lights

Critics love this show to the point of  column over saturation. Give it an Emmy nod.

Best Comedy

30 Rock

The Big Bang Theory

How I Met Your Mother

The Office

Two And A Half Men

The United States Of Tara

If anything beats 30 Rock, I’ll be surprised.

Dark Horse pick- Better Off Ted

It’s original! It’s fresh! It’s new! It actually is really good. And it was a mid season replacement. I would not be adverse with Emmy handing some love over to this show.

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Idol is being self congratulatory again. I know it’s a ratings powerhouse, but this is ridiculous. It’s not like Simon Fuller has discovered the cure for cancer.

Gwen asks why they are wearing white. Oy.

I’m looking forward to tonight. All the pressure is off. But can Kris and Adam sing together without sounding totally weird?

Kris was leading on Dial Idol this morning, but by negligible numbers. Kris also barely won the TV Guide poll. I’m just passing this on for info sake.

Kris and Adam’s mics don’t work. Ha!

The top thirteen launch into a haphazard version of Pink’s ” So What”. The thirteen sound atrocious together. They always have. ” And you’re a tool” made the cut. Snickers. Awful off key notes left and right. Last year’s top twelve were truly much better as a collective.

RyRy=smarmy ass.

David!!!!! ” Permanent”!!!! Whoot! And he sounds great. God, I’ve missed him on this show. And everyone buy the song.

Idol Awards- a moment of levity. Some awful performances. Everyone laugh at the deluded.But we get NickNorman again. God, I love the guy.

Lil sings with Queen Latifah, and The Queen sings circles around the Lil one.

Jason Mraz!!! With Alexis and Anoop. I love this song. I love Mraz. I love Alexis and Anoop. I love this. Best of the current Idol performances so far.

We get a Kris tape piece. We found him in Kentucky, remember? He’s such a sweet guy. And he sings ” Kiss A Girl” with Keith Urban. He sounds good on the song. I’m not a big fan of this Keith song, but whatever, they sound great.

The girls are now singing Fergie’s ” Glamorous”. Are you kidding? Fergie can’t sing either. Jasmine is heinous. There is no melody to this song. Fergie comes out and “sings” “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. Ugh. Now the Black Eyed Peas come out to join there wayward girl and launch into whatever this song is ( I’ve been immersed in Green Day’s new album- it’s a classic. I’ve been avoiding BEP at all costs). Why the sudden cut to the Idol sign and no sound?

More Idol awards. Best Attitude. And Bikini Girl is on the list. The only moment all season I liked Kara. And then Kara joins Bikini Girl on stage and sings circles around the girl. ( Kara can sing. Not spectacularly, but she can.)

Ally!!!!! Singing “Time After Time” with Cyndi Lauper. Awesome. Allison loses the lyric a bit. They both sound good in their quirky way. The chorus is gorgeous. I love you, Ally Cat.

Danny is singing “Hello”? SACRELIGE!!!!!!!

But Lionel Richie… well, he’s cool in a cheesy ass way. Too bad he’s singing with DWP. I don’t like this song at all though. Just like DWP. Now some ” All Night Long”. DWP sucks donkey balls.

Now we get Adam’s tape piece in San Fransisco. He kept his promise, indeed. Adam is singing with …, wait, what the fuck is he wearing? He launches with ” Beth”?  KISS!!!!!!!!!!!! KIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! ” Detroit Rock City” is my fave KISS song, and then we get ” Rock And Roll All Nite” and I love Adam right now. Awesomeness.

Still prefer Cyndi and Ally. Just saying.

Carlos Santana is awesome.  Some ” Black Magic Woman”. Loving it. Some Matt Giraud who sounds pretty good with the man. Little off in the lower register. Now some ” smooth”. Love this song. It’s ten years old, you know. Adam joins in. Jorge… this must be the guy song. Kris really sounded good on his line. DWP sucks still.  Nope, the girls join in.  The thirteen together still sound shitty.

Ford video. Whatever.

David gives Adam and Kris cars. I love that. All three seem so nice.

Steve Martin, who is my comedy hero. He’s joining Sarver and Megan. WTF? This is the weirdest thing ever on Idol. Megan still is bizarre. Total surrealist moment.

Gwen has informed me we are watching SYTYCD. Oh boy.

Um… The guys are singing ” If Ya Think I’m Sexy”. Why?  I’m not even a Rod Stewart fan and I feel sorry for the dude. Rod does come out next, and he begins  “Maggie May”, the only Rod Stewart song I believe is perfect. Rod’s voice hasn’t been the same since his surgery. The grit’s there, but the power he had is gone. Sad, really. The song is still awesome, though.

Another Idol award. Oh, shit. Shriekianna. SHIT! I was hoping to avoid the drama queen. Shit. This is bad comedy but I can’t help laughing at the absurdity.

So we are now twenty minutes out of the scheduled end time of Idol. I’m expecting an Adam-Kris moment.

And we get “We Are The Champions”. Queen on Idol. Awesome. Adam is in his zone on this song. Gwen just saw Brian Mays and screamed. Awesome vocals by our top two. I am loving this more than I really should. The swaybots are annoying, but that’s not new. Fucking awesome.

Idol finale returns with Kris and Adam. RyRy goes to Simon and tells Simon to give advice. Simon is not snarky at all. A rare moment. The dude comes out with the results. Almost 100 million votes cast. Dim the lights, here we go. And the winner is… KRIS ALLEN!!!!!!!!

The dark horse actually won the thing? Holy shit!

Off the radar for most of the series, Kris Allen just won American Idol.

He looks stunned and flabbergasted. He can barely form a sentence. Adam looks genuinely happy for Kris.

Wow.

Too bad Kris has to sing that bullshit song again. Poor guy. I forgive the pitchiness and everything right now.

It was an interesting season of Idol, too be sure. And I’ll be back in January to do it all again. Because Idol and I will never break up despite the hell it puts me through.

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CBS announced it’s sked today, and The Big Bang Theory is moving to 9:30 on Mondays, behind Two and A Half Men ( still won’t watch that). HIMYM is taking over the 8:00 spot TBBT has had all season.

Oh, and Criminal Minds was on the sked, same place, same time. 

I’ll be misisng the first half of tonight’s CM two hour finale. Hey, the BAU in Canada- and Idol conflicts. Stupid networks.

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Chuck has been officially renewed. It does start after the Olympics in March, it will continue to be on Mondays, and Ben Silverman has said there is a chance of a back nine pick up if the original order of thirteen episodes goes well. Either way, Chuck will be back for a third season. That’s all we really wanted, right?

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Today I got a record number eleven spam comments. Oh, and about 65 people read my essay about the modern sitcom. But I digress. Idol never gets me major hits, Chuck and The Big Bang Theory do. Which reminds me- look for upcoming posts on DTTMOT about the finales for all my faves. It’ll just take some time. Chuck will be first. I’m still waiting on my renewal news ( increasingly positive, increasingly looking like Fridays). I was afraid to write it lest my favorite super spy be cancelled out of my life, making me sad. But I am clearly completely off topic here. I’m just writing till the show starts. And promptly beat the 100 word mark by talking about nothing.

So the show begins with a Ben Stiller/Hank Azaria/Bill Hader/Jonah Hill product placement shill crapfest that is honestly the funniest thing to happen on Idol this season ( intentionally funny, I mean. There were many unintentionally hilarious moments). Time waster.

RyRy descends from the glowing steps of death. He informs us 88 million votes came in and 1 million separated first and second ( now I’m really worried about Kris).

Katy Perry is a crappy live singer. A train wreck not involving the Idols tonight in the making.

The Ford video sucks yet again.

Alicia Keys is now onstage.  Another Idol Gives Back moment.  Love her. Noah, the kid she has been talking about, comes out and sings. I can’t do anything but smile. Bright bouncy world music.

We get the hometown journeys tonight. God.

So the trio are backstage and Danny gets called out first. We go with him back to Milwaukee ( Schlemiel… Schlimazel… Hassenpfeffer Incorporated…). I get hometown visits are biased propaganda pieces, so I ignore it and read Tweets instead. ( Collin, I need to find you…). Then the lights dim and RyRy talks… do we need to be reminded about Simon’s insulting to Elliot Yamin “Master class” comment.Then off to the couch.

Kris goes home to Conway (Twitty) Arkansas. ( Sorry, but Conway Twitty really took his stage name from the town). OHHHH…. one of my all time fave songs!!!! “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” for  Kris. Awesomeness!!!!!!!!!! I’m loving it.  I got misty eyed with his mama. RyRy gives the rundown. Then to the couches.

Jordin Sparks and Adam’s tape are up next.  Jordin looks like she’s sparkly stripper dress. But she sounds good, if a little screamy. Not liking the song that much, though.

Adam puts on a crooked smile as he’s called out, and they talk about San Diego. A streaker?  He has insane screamers and a pretty diverse crowd. He goes back to the theater he performed with as a child (aaaaawwwwwww…). We do see the streaker, and a lot of screaming. RyRy dims the lights ( not awashed in blue this time). He recaps the critics and announces Katy Perry. Prepare to be nauseated.

Katy sings her new song, “Waking Up In Vegas With A New STD And A Bad Hangover And Prime Rib In My Teeth”. She’s awful. Terrible.

Please end my misery. No. Commercial. Assholes.

And the lights finally dim, and the first in finale is… Kris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the person going home is… DANNY! WE DID IT!!!!!

No more Gokey!!!

It’s not my perfect final two ( I miss you Allison…), but it’ll do.

I’m gonna now slam back the rest of my Marg and party.

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First off, I got to tell the idiot spammers thinking I want to see Audrina Partridge nude- I don’t. Not Patricia Heaton. Or anybody else. And my spam collector catches you. And I will never, ever approve your “comments”.  So quit wasting everyone’s time, please. It’s irritating.

Second off, I’m glad they do two songs this week instead of the previous three. Judges choice and singer’s choice, no producer’s choice to screw with the fact Fringe is supposed to start at 9:04 tonight ( FINALE!!! WHOOT! Gwenny loves that show.) It will also not screw with the fact my Bones dvds arrived today and I have a three season marathon awaiting me ( thanks to my beloved Rose for leading me to B&B!!!). The fact is, all the fun of Idol has now been sapped out of me. I only care enough to hope Adam wins so I don’t have to listen to the phrases ” Danny Gokey” and ” American Idol Winner” in the same sentence.

The judges song choices have been out all weekend. Adam gets U2’s “One”, Kris OneRepublic’s ” Apologize”, and DWP ” Dance Little Sister” by Terrance Trent D’Arby. But recently spoiled were the contestant picks- DWP Joe Cocker’s ” You Are so Beautiful”, Adam ” Cryin'” by Aerosmith, and Kris? ” Heartless” by Kanye West. With the guitar. I read that, of course, on MJ’s Big Blog. I’m a little unsure about Kris at this moment fifteen minutes before the show.

So our Idols (plus DWP) went home to visit this week. DWP went to Milwaukee, the home of Laverne and Shirley.  I ignore everything before Danny let’s out his first flat note ( which was,  of course, his first note).  Why did Paula hand over a soulful TTD song to the whitest bread guy alive? And he was off pitch and off cadence again this week. He was constantly half a beat behind the band.  Ignore the judges.

Kris goes next. Kris returns to Arkansas. and he gets a little OneRepublic to sing. Kris has a big voice? Okay… I love Kris, but I’m not going that far. Kris at the piano this time. He’s at least sounding amazing. A little pitchy. He hit his falsetto, which is important in this song. I liked it a lot. I don’t like the song much to start with, but Kris’ version I’d probably buy.  Kara can drop dead.

Adam went to San Diego and gets the U2 song. Bono approved! Adam automatically updates it with a haunting piano and a slight tweak to the melody with out ignoring the original iconic melody, but… There was a little bit of an enunciation issue when he went up to the diva voice,  he was mostly on key, and he tried to do something different with a legendary song. Okay, so I’m not a big fan of the upper register still, I still think it’s too shrill, and that he used it too often on this song.

I’m sorry, but I think round one actually went to Kris. You know, the guy with the tire tracks all over his body due to the shove the judges gave him.

Then there  is Carrie Underwood and some Idol gives back stuff, with that hip hop version Toto’s iconic “Africa” playing in the background. ( Who can hate Toto’s “Africa”).

So we come back to DWP, and he goes with- Joe Cocker? WTF? It is the ultimate DWPing song. Let’s see him all a glow thanks to lighting and have him sing to the heavens now. I’m taking bets right now that’s how it goes down. Kill me now. He lacks the soul and grit of Cocker. And it’s automatically cheesy Spanish style guitar, off key vocals, terrible. I’m never listening to this song ever again. It’s been ruined by GOKEY. BASTARD!

The judges all deserve purgatory for that bullshit they just shovelled out.

Kris and his bold choice is next. Kris most definitely has a better voice than Kanye, and Kris’ version is… cool. Modern. Relevant. It’s a song released in the last twelve months. It’s a moment. I’m loving it more and more as he goes on. I’m buying this!

The judges decided to pull Kris out from under the bus. Is it a bit too late? I hope not.

Adam decides to embrace rock GAWD again and does some Aerosmith. you know, the band that’s been around for forty years but Kara thinks their first album was released in 1993. “Cryin'” is an alright Toxic Twins jam, but nowhere near “Amazing” or “Crazy” of that same album. Adam starts off strong, a little off tempo in the chorus… and I’m not loving the arrangement, and he’s using the diva voice in odd places. Not liking this either, although  it’s a trillion times better than what Danny did.

I actually believe Kris won the night.

Should be the top two- Kris and Adam.

Will be- Danny and Adam. Rose brought up a good point on Twitter to Panzer. Is there anyway for Kris to convert fans at this point when both DWP and Adam have devout fan bases?

Whatever. I have no joy left in this season.

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So, off the top- the Ford commercial is lame, the group sing was only slightly better than usual, and the judges are stupid. ( Well, they haven’t done anything offensive as of this moment, but it bears repeating.)

The typical breakdown that Idol does for top five week, creating two groups of two and making the fifth choose a group. This year, RyRy sent Matty and Kris to the one side, Allison and Danny to the other, making Adam choose between the two. Usually, they announce the fifth person safe and then makes them choose. This year, I got suspicious when RyRy didn’t call Adam safe.  Adam went and joined Danny and Allison, when RyRy pulled a switcheroo and announced that no, DWP and my beloved Allison were in fact safe, and Matty, Adam, and Kris were the bottom three.

Natalie Cole looks really good for someone who is as ill as she is reported to be and she sounds great.  Some pitch issues, but she’s a legend. I forgive legends.

Taylor Hicks? Ugh.

Taylor looks pretty much the same. I’m not impressed though. His song is tolerable but nothing special.

Matty, Kris, and Adam come back and the person sitting back at the couch is-Kris.

RyRy didn’t say bottom two, so I don’t know who is bottom two.

EW has been predicting this week could be a shocking elimination. I would think if Adam went, that is beyond shocking…

I don’t like this song (the video’s cool, but the song sucks). Jamie Foxx can go away now.

RyRy calls Simon out, and Simon take sit rather well ( but smugly). Adam is announced safe ( the right call), and Matty goes home for real this time.

Next week is Rock week, and Slash is supposed to be the mentor. The coolest Idol mentor ever!

Till next week.

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Idol News

Apparently, this is happening next week:

SlashHudson I’m going to attempt to make “Rock Week” on American Idol exactly that. # fb

Slash is going to be on EFFING IDOL????

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Yes, Chuck fans, today is the season finale.

Now, there are rumors floating about that Chuck has been picked up for thirteen ( no truth to that), Nikki Finke saying that the show is safe ( I have issues with Ms. Finke at times, some things she wrote during the WGAstrike hurt some writer friends deeply, so I take what she says with a grain of salt). Let me be clear- THERE IS NO TRUTH TO ANY OF THESE RENEWAL STORIES. So do not think that we are in the clear ( I suspect Chuck will be renewed, because of the help we fans got from prominent TV critics from the Chicago Tribune, The NJ Star-Ledger, and Ausiello at EW.com, which turned a grassroots movement that would probably been effective to a point into a national story not seen since Jericho was cancelled the first time). If we are lucky to see our favorite Buy More employee and the gang back for season three, we cannot give up the big fight- we have to continue to tout the show at every possible moment and make sure people tune in for season three.

The fact is, rarely do these fan based reactionary movements work. the most famous one is of course the Jericho ” nuts” campaign, which saw Les Moonves’ office filled with peanuts. The most successful one in history was the letter writing campaign that saved 80s cop classic Cagney and Lacey, a show cancelled after it’s first season only to return for another five (it also had Ms. magazine backing it). There is also The Family Guy, cancelled by Fox only to come back years later due to the ratings the show got on Adult Swim. That show is also still on the air after many seasons.

The thing that is different about the Chuck campaing, though, is the fan ingenuity. It was a fan who came up with the Subway campaign. See, Subway is prominent in it’s product placement on the show, including the character of Morgan Grimes ( the invaluable Joshua Gomez) singing the $5 footlong jingle a couple of episodes ago. Fans actually praise the product placement on Chuck- it’s obvious, sure, but it’s done in the most fun loving, goofy way. That is why this idea got legs. We all know product placement is the wave of the advertising future on TV, as the rise of DVRs and TV on DVD attest ( not to mention the continued popularity of torrent files). What could be more effective than showing both the advertiser and the network that the idea actually works? NBC has been the most aggressive network in this arena ( see: entire episodes of 30 Rock based around McFlurries and such). They are dying to prove that product placement works. We are helping them prove a point by showing the advertiser that we are watching and listening. It’s easy to be cynical and jaded about the practice, but damn it, we aren’t idiots. Advertising dollars propel the TV industry- that’s why Neilsens, however ineffective, are still the standard we use to gauge viewership. The assumption is if 1% of the population are recorded as watching a certain television show, the number correlate out by formula, there by 2 1/2 Men scores 17 million viewers in a week ( I really don’t know how accurate that is, honestly. No one I know likes that show, but almost everyone I know watches The Big Bang Theory at some point during the week).

The money train, though, is the most important thing to the networks. And that has been part of Chuck’s problem. See, Heroes ( craptastic as it is right now) is owned outright by NBC/Universal, it gets all the money from DVD and International sales. Chuck is produced out of Warner Brothers studios, which means that NBC has to pay the WB a licensing fee, and they don’t garner a huge chunk of those DVD and International sales.  That is why, despite comparable numbers ( Heroes still draws in a few hundred thousand more, plus a bit more in the oh-so important 18-49 demo), Heroes pulled in an early renewal call and Chuck- well, by all accounts, it’s on the positive side of the bubble, but it’s on the bubble none the less.

All things being considered though, Chuck has everything going for it- it’s like Lost and Heroes in it’s dense mythology, but unlike both of those shows, it’s actually funny, light hearted, positive, and charming on top of smart and thrilling. It’s not weighed down by a ridiculously massive cast that requires maneuvering ridiculous amounts of story lines. It says great things about family and friends. It’s actually quite family friendly ( I know last weeks Chuck-Sarah make out session was a little steamy, but as my preteen daughter pointed out, when was the last time you saw a show that actually encouraged responsible sexual practices and said condoms are important and don’t sex someone up without one. Yeah, but you know, I’m one of those ridiculously open liberal parents that allows my kids to swear because there are worse things in the world they could be doing, like robbing liquor stores). And the cast has shown in the last few weeks that they really appreciate us as the fans.  Few shows have the majority of their cast and crew talk to the hosts of a fan podcast to discuss things the way Chuck’s cast and crew did last week for Chuck vs. The Podcast. Few show runners would engage their fans in interviews, thanking them and encouraging the ” Take It To the Man” attitudes. Few would actually say ” Send Nerds” ( as in the candies) like  Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak did. Fans often feel passionately about their shows, but there often seems like there is a wall between creators and fans, and we never even know if they know how passionate we are about what they do. The Internet has changed this somewhat, and I have seen show runners get majorly involved now in fan communities ( Criminal Minds Fanatic has a notoriously close relationship with Ed Bernaro and the creative crew on that show). Chuck falls on that side of the TV world. A lot of that, I’m convinced of, is Josh Schwartz being so frakkin’ young himself, growing up in the era of video games and the rise of the Internet. Chuck’s NBC page uses integration really well, and Schwartz ( who also produces the CW’s Gossip Girl- talk about a Sophie’s Choice situation in the Schwartz home Mondays at 8 pm) is savvier than most about the ways to use the Internet community. 

Another fan based movement happens on the mother of all Internet driven commercial real estate- ITunes. Chuck is available on ITunes, and  so is the music. Chuck fans have been encouraged to of course purchase episodes off of the music store, but there has also been a push to buy the music featured. The Chuck soundtrack is heavy on two things- indie rock ( Bon Iver, Phantom Planet, Spoon, Flight Of the Conchords) and eighties classics ( Rush, Journey, Twisted Sister, Huey Lewis and The News). I know I have bought songs simply because I heard it on Chuck first. And I have apparently forgotten how much I loved Huey Lewis as a kid. I would like to thank Chuck for reminding me.

And more on that eighties thing- well, it’s less about the eighties per se than the genius way this show pays homage to the popular culture of the people of my age group. Emmett Millbarge- totally Spies Like Us. The Godfather? Well, you know that the Buy More is just a different kind of mafia, right?  Casablanca is probably referenced in this show more than one could possibly realize. There have lines cribbed from everything- James Bond, The Warriors, Quantum Leap, Jerry Maguire… part of the fun is realizing that yes, Nicole Richie and Ben Savage’s characters are, in fact, named Heather Chandler and Mark Ratner ( from the two greatest high school movies ever- Heathers and Fast Times At Ridgemont High).

Then there is that cast. Adam Baldwin as the indomitable Maj. ( now Col.) John Casey- a mix of his characters in My Bodyguard and Firefly ( Jayne Cobb=John Casey on earth and with a badge). The beautiful Yvonne Strahovski ( nicknamed Strahotski by libido charged fanboys) has grown into her difficult role of kick ass chick with a gun and a heart. How can you hate a show with a character nicknamed Captain Awesome, and Ryan McPartlin’s character has developed from one note joke to the person Chuck first tells about his secret. Sarah Lancater’s Ellie Bartowski is a smart woman who loves her brother to the point of almost smothering him, but she genuinely cares about what he is doing with his life. Jeff and Lester provide hilarious comic relief at the Buy More, and let’s face it, Jeffster is the coolest lame ass band in TV history. Morgan Grimes is the devoted best friend, and the Chuck-Morgan bromance is the stuff of legend. Then there is Zachary Levi as Chuck- handsome but not so much so as to be unbelievable as a geek, but not so geeky as to be off putting. He’s charming, affable, and funny, and a really great actor. I’m actually sure of the fact if it wasn’t for the show’s lead, the show would not work. Sometimes character and actor just mesh in a way as to become one. From all accounts, Zac Levi is an awful lot like Chuck in real life- video gamer, sweet, generous, and warm.

There are many reasons why Chuck deserves a third season, most of them listed above. But let me just say one more thing before I go and Twitter some more about the Subway thing and the season finale and just how beloved this show actually has become. I can tell you right now that the first two episodes were fun but didn’t inspire diehard loyalty from me. It wasn’t until the show’s mythology began to develop around the middle of season one I became hooked. What was a funny little spy show became deeper and more involved in “Chuck vs. the Alma Mater”, when you began to get a sense that the reason for Chuck to become the human intersect was bigger than originally thought. This is one show that has gotten better with each episode. Hurt by the ten month layoff the strike caused, being in the most competativetime slot ( Mondays at 8 ET- opposite House, Dancing With the Stars, The CBS comedies The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, and Gossip Girl on the CW), this show deserves so much better than NBC has given it. And the best thing I think NBC, after handing over five hours of prime time to a comedian ( even money from me Jay’s show fails), being in fourth place, and with little looking all that promising for them, is too reward a loyal, if small, audience.

Here’s hoping for season three of Chuck, with at least thirteen, preferably twenty two, episodes. There are worse things that could happen.

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Okay, sorry I slacked off the last two days, Chuck fans, I was simply so tired I couldn’t function all too well. To make it up to you all, some Chuck goodies.

I know we’ve all seen it, but here we are again: the promo for tomorrow’s episode, the season finale- Chuck vs. The Ring.

Next, a pic of the two men I adore, Zac Levi and Adam Baldwin. I love me some Chuck and Casey…

Maj. (now Col.) John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Chuck Bartowski ( Zachary Levi)

Maj. (now Col.) John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Chuck Bartowski ( Zachary Levi)

And now, the new hot Chuck viral video: JEFFSTER!

For good measure- cast photos:

Mark Christopher Lawrence, Joshua Gomez, Scott Krinsky, Julia Ling, Zachary Levi

Mark Christopher Lawrence, Joshua Gomez, Scott Krinsky, Julia Ling, Zachary Levi

Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Yvonne Strahovski, Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin

Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Yvonne Strahovski, Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin

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Chuck on the beach

Chuck on the beach

Another picture of the smoking hot Zac Levi as Chuck Bartowski. Remember to watch on Monday, April 27 at 8 PM ET on NBC ( City TV in Canada). Please remember to grab yourself some Subway $5 footlongs and drop off a comment card, ask for a recipt and mail it to Subway headquarters. Also add a note to NBC in Burbank.

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Fucking Idol had to remind me of Paula’s “sexy” comment for DWP last night? Why does Idol hate me so when all I do is love snark it?

Anyhoo, tonight’s Idol will be interrupted as I will watch part of the East coast Letterman feed- one of my future husbands is on, and the EC feed of Letterman coincides with the WC feed of Idol. And the mid part of Idol sucks. But it serves me right for having a nap after dinner and falling asleep.

Choreographer Paula is my favorite Paula because she was really meant to be that choreographer. She looks focused and- well, normal.

The Idols launch into their very VERY canned version of ” Shake Your Body Down”. Matt’s falsetto had been sweetened to the point of being on key. And for all of Paula’s efforts ( she really is a great choreographer- let’s give her credit where it’s due, people), the Idols CANNOT dance. Except for Adam. That theatrical training helped him a lot there.

And this week’s Ford video sucks donkeys.

This episode of Idol will now pre-empted so I can watch Jim Parsons on Letterman. Be back in ten.

I return to Idol to catch the end of KC and the Sunshine Band, and we launch back into commercial.

I discover that Lil Rounds has ( thank God) been eliminated. Whoo, one down.

Kris- safe.

Adam- safer than safe.

DWP- please kill me now… he’s effing safe. Damn it.

Anoop- silver chair of doom…

Allison and Matty-  Matt is safe.

My Allison!! Noooooooo…

David Archuleta… he’s back… Jason style…

Archie does ” Touch My Hand”.  He sounds vocally tired. I like the kid, despite all my mocking last year.

I’m bored. So bored.

So we come down to Anoop and Allison and the one heading home is… Anoop.

Kinda sad about that, I like Anoop. But Slezak called it- Anoop in about sixth place. Yeah.

Next week, folks.

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Wow, we’re moving quick this week. Did Fringe fans threaten Seacrest’s life? Or did Fox execs? (I’m betting it was the Fringsters).

Lil Rounds goes with Chaka Khan’s legendary ” I’m Every Woman” and completely butchers the modulation of the chorus, goes sharp constantly on her big notes, and is a general train wreck. That was awful. And someone muzzle her, damn it!

Simon calls it. Horrendous. Bye bye, Lil.

Kris- whom I am beginning to adore ( his version of ” Falling Slowly” is my number one song on IPod last week)- chooses… ” She Works Hard For The Money”?????? WTF?????

Wait.

Artistry, everyone. That is called artistry. He sounds good vocally and I’m kinda digging the Bedouin Soundclash-ish vibe with the music. ( I am a Bedouin Soundclash fan). Kinda cool. Like it? I think the verdict is yes.

Is Paula off her meds again?

Next up- “September” by DWP, who is wildly pitchy off the top. Why does he always go flat?  I now hate this song because Gokey is singing it. Sorry, Earth Wind & Fire.

Enough about that.

Allison sings a totally awesome, rocking version of Donna Summer’s ” Hot Stuff”. Her vocals kick ass. That may be my favoritism peeking out. And I’m a little disturbed a sixteen year old is singing this song…

Adam is next… is he gonna be crazy boy Adam or amazing singer Adam? (Some would argue they are one and the same, but I maintain he’s schizophrenic in his performance style).

He goes with ” If I Can’t Have You”. Saturday Night Fever, everyone. Finally. And it’s one of those disco love songs. And he’s just singing. And it’s a great vocal. Controlled. Even. Till the chorus, he is a little shrill. But overall, impressive. And I love the shout out to Michael Orland, who helped with his arrangement.

Matty. I have a love/hate relationship with Matty. I love him when he gets it right. He crushes my soul when he doesn’t.  Chances are he’s heading home tomorrow night, regardless ( perfect world would send DWP and Lil home, but it”s never a perfect world where Danny Gokey is concerned). Matty goes with ” Stayin’ Alive”. Ooh… iconic song… but I like it sooooo much more than those two people I hate. He’s on key, he doesn’t really try to reach Barry Gibb level falsetto. Until the end. He kept it in the Robin range. Good call.

Um, now Paula’s bowling.

Anoop looking a little less frat boy, more something with the scruff.

My baby, Emma, would just like to say ” Amoo, Amoo, Amoo it aw fyah”.

Anoop goes with yet another ballad beginning.  Seriously? He goes with ” Dim All The Lights”, which does pick up, but is still midtempo. His vocal though, is on pitch and pretty good. Brave dude to wear neon and pastels, I must say.

Randy’s hyperbole is ridiculous. Better than last year? Really?

So yeah, Top three tonight- Kris, Allsion, Adam ( in no particular order).

My bottom three- Anoop, Lil, and DWP. But the bottom three will be Anoop, Lil, and Matty, with Matt and Lil heading off home.

This bites.

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