Category Archives: HBO
Fair warning: spoilers.
Series finales are always bittersweet. It means that a beloved show is coming to an end but now we don’t have to suffer all of those emotional traumas. Generally, series finales tend to be great masterpieces that tie all loose ends. This year, on the other hand, we were presented with rushed and just down right disappointing series finales. It seemed like as each show ended, you’d hear someone on the Internet commenting, “well this beats [insert show that recently ended] for worst finale ever”
I’m going to get this one out of the way. I have not watched this show, but I plan on watching it one day. I’m not going to go into why it was terrible in fear that it will ruin something from the first four seasons. That’s when you’re supposed to stop watching Dexter, right?
Doll & Em is a lot like Hello Ladies. It’s quintessentially British, which somehow makes it really boring. In the case of Doll & Em, we’re watching two women navigate Hollywood. Everyone knows Hollywood is a strange place. Fiction likes to fill it with a bunch of self-absorbed jerks. So what happens when you take a town full of unlikable people and throw two more unlikable people into it? A very uncompelling show.
Dolly and Emily have an extremely close, but complicated relationship. When Dolly calls up Emily because she lost her job, Emily instantly hires Dolly to be her assistant. Since Emily appears to be a well-known actress, she is forced to go to Hollywood parties. After she comes home, she constantly complains about how terrible they are. You would think, by now, she would have found a way to get out of them. Secretly, Emily probably likes complaining about them because hanging around them makes it easier for her to ignore her own bad qualities. For example, Emily had no problem making out with a guy Dolly was interested in. The kicker: Emily has a husband, albeit one she never sees.
In just eight episodes, HBO’s True Detective will take detectives Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey back to a case they couldn’t solve in 1995 Louisiana whose killer may now be resurfacing. After the first two episodes, seemingly occult-based murders have begun to lead the two down a path of drugs, flop houses, and a burnt-out, backwoods church of ‘redemption’ looking for answers.
The ‘history’ of the case in True Detective unfolds through a series of flashbacks as the former partners retell their tale(s) to two current detectives who lost the files to storm Rita. The pace flows slower than most television crime shows as if McConaughey and Harrelson are actually reliving their partnership and a case nearly two decades old (within a slow, southern atmosphere no less). The show’s mystery and acting help carry the viewer through the proceedings at a decent pace, but the current detectives are quite distracting when you’re trying to figure out if they’re hiding something or if they’re just giving each other goofy looks whenever they can because they think it’s funny.
Enlightened was a two season HBO series written by Mike White,who we all may only remember from School of Rock, although his catalog covers some ground throughout the 2000s. Starring Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, a former corporate meltdown turned progressive peacekeeper through an emotional rehab, who is just trying desperately to get back into the good graces of her old company, while trying to simultaneously clean up their act is a show of just that: desperation.
Season one focuses on Jellicoe’s desperation to ‘stick to the script’ of her self-help books as she returns to work at Open Air, Abbadon, the company where she had had her infamous breakdown just a month before. Many of the same faces now inhabit the upper levels, which makes Jellicoe’s rise back that much more difficult as no one but Jellicoe is open to second chances.
Out of all the characters, Stuart Pritchard is the worst. Stuart thinks he’s a player, but he doesn’t even know when a woman is hitting on him. When Jessica does point it out, Stuart awkwardly tries to act cool, which demonstrates exactly how uncool he is, yet sometimes he gets the girl. “The Date” had him ask a girl from his gym’s smoothie bar appear clearly interested in him, but Stuart thinks she’s just making fun of his Britishness because she says things like “top of the morning to you” and “cheerio.” Once Stuart understands the situation, he ends up knocking over all the drinks in the refrigerator. In his head, leaning against the fridge is cool. Everyone else knows attempting to look cool only makes you look clueless.
Stuart Pritchard doesn’t deserve his friends. For some reason, Wade puts up with Stuart’s wannabe Casanova lifestyle and allows Stuart to control his life, even though all Wade wants is his wife to take him back. In “The Limo,” Wade rents a limo, so that he could take his wife, who he is currently separated from, on a special date. Wade’s wife tells him to get lost. Instead of having Wade cancel the limo, Stuart decides to have a party in it on Wade’s dime.
Hello Ladies may take place in Los Angeles and air on an American channel, HBO, but it is a pretty standard modern British sitcom. Every character is an awkward person, who doesn’t know how to function in normal settings. In this case, Stuart Pritchard (Stephen Merchant) leads his group of awkward male friends around LA nightlife as an attempt to pick up women. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t have the outcome they wanted.
Stuart’s best friend is Wade, whose wife recently left him. Wade somehow manages to walk into doors that don’t exist. This is a man who introduces himself to women in a bar as Wade as in Roe vs. Wade. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then goes on to remind the women- he and Stuart barely know, yet want to have sex with- that it was the court case about abortion. Stuart digs the hole deeper by saying, “Let’s not talk about abortion before we have to.” That line pretty much sums up Hello Ladies‘ premise in a blunter fashion: men looking for cheap meaningless sex. You could easily think of Stuart as a gawky unsuccessful Joey Tribbiani.
I have a theory that nightmares are our brain’s way of saying “hey, your life could be worse,” which is why the horror genre is increasingly becoming popular in television. So what if you have crippling debt because of student loans. At least, you don’t have to kill your zombified friends and family. According to this CBC article, that’s why zombies are so popular.
There is no doubting that times are tough. When you find yourself in times of trouble, mother television comes on to make things all better. Since the dawn of primetime, TV has always been an escape from our daily lives. It’s why we never saw our favorite nuclear TV families broken apart by war. Instead of living vicariously through our favorite TV characters like we used to, we’re saying, “hey, my life could be worse”.
True Blood (HBO)
True Blood came out in the height of that whole Twilight fad that some of us don’t like mentioning being part of. I remember girls complaining that True Blood was a blatant rip off of the saga. Aside from having vampires, the protagonist happens to have telepathic abilities, just like a certain sparkly vampire. Except The Southern Vampire Mysteries that inspired the TV show came out before Stephanie Meyer dreamed up Twilight.
The difference between True Blood and any other vampire movie or TV show is that it dealt with current issues. Gay rights to be specific. This is made obvious by the “God hates Fangs” sign in the intro, which is a lovely jab at The Westboro Baptist Church. The show has continued to use vampires as an allegory for the LGBT community. You know, vampires are people too!
Despite airing in the summer, which is usually a death sentence, this show became insanely popular. So popular that HBO has been pushing out more and more TV shows ever since its 2008 debut. Since so many people took time out of their busy summer schedules of doing nothing, it showed that horror is something channels should strive toward.
This week we bring you stories from around the Internet that you might have missed.
Matt Smith leaves Doctor Who.
Jean Stapleton, who played Archie Bunker’s wife, Edith, on All in the Family, died on Friday.
Dan Harmon announces his return to Community.
The Sopranos tops the Writers Guild of America’s list of Best Written TV Series Ever.
John Oliver talks to The Hollywood Reporter about taking over The Daily Show for the summer. His first day is June 10.
In honor of Jean Stapleton, the All in the Family theme song is after the jump.
Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl was a two part comedy special on HBO about American History. While both parts of the special contain pop culture references that clearly date Assume the Position 101 to 2006 and Assume the Position 201 to 2007, that doesn’t make it less funny. Despite only being an actor and comedian, Robert Whul makes every college student want to have him as a professor.
Parts 1 and 2 are combined in the video below.