Everybody Hates Chris
The CW's got some funny sitcoms both old (Everybody Hates Chris) and new (Aliens in America -- more on that later), but the network's funniest asset is Paul McGuire, executive vice president, network communications.
Before introducing Dawn Ostroff, president entertainment, The CW, McGuire fires off some zingers to get the reporters up and running.
Of the recycled tote bags that The CW gave to the press (perfect for hauling all our cable swag home), McGuire quips, "They're made entirely from recycled billboards, including some from Hidden Palms -- or as some dirt bag reporter called it -- 'Hidden Ratings.'"
That means we can watch 'em, too.
Go here to check out which episodes of CBS Paramount (different from the CBS network) were submitted for Emmy consideration. The online video quality looks and sounds great. Among the contenders are a CSI episode with Liev Schreiber, Criminal Minds with James van der Beek, and an episode of Jericho, which the CBS network recently canceled.
Last week's winners:
3rd place to Bus: "Marshall learned the hard way the dangers of mistaking Nair for hair gel."
2nd place to Karen: "I'm not sure you fully comprehend the concept of the Mohawk..."
1st place to Bob Mc: "I don't think you should part your hair."
For this week, a scene from the season finale of Everybody Hates Chris ...
The big news is no news. Veronica Mars was not announced as part of the Fall line-up, but according to rumors, The CW is waiting until June 15th to decide the gal detective's fate. This is supposed to give Rob Thomas enough time to whip up a "Veronica in the FBI" script. (Update: Ausiello reports from the press conference that Veronica Mars is dead, though "something else" may be coming up.)
One Tree Hill is going to do a ctrl-alt-del. Returning mid-season, the show is going to jump four years into the future - after its characters have graduated from college. Online journal entries are going to chronicle the missing years. On Everybody Hates Chris, Chris Rock will finally appear on the show -- as the school guidance councilor!
The more interesting pick of the newbie litter - Josh Schwartz, creator of The O.C., is back with Gossip Girl based on the popular book series of the same name and Kevin Smith directed the pilot episode of the new series Reaper.
The CW's good, bad and ugly after the jump:
(S02E22) I need to pay more attention to the opening credits, because I had no idea Kelsey Grammer directed this episode. You can see a video of Grammer talking about it here.
First of all, I loved how Chris' dad thinks everything can be fixed with duct tape. Who knew Julius and Red Green had something in common?
This episode had me, and then it lost me. When Chris decides to final exact revenge on Caruso, I was all set up. This was going to be yet another great episode of a series that never relies to heavily on sitcom conventions for its humor, but by the end, that's exactly what the episode had done. I'm sure a bunch of cats being turned loose in a school might work on a lesser show, but it's an idea that seems way too "sitcom-y" for a show like Chris. Also, isn't the show supposed to be based, at least somewhat, on Chris Rock's real childhood? What school did he attend that would allow him the ample time he needed to set up such an elaborate prank?
(S02E21) Boy, did this episode speak to me.
Like Chris, I've never been very good at math. This is an example of how my brain tries to solve a basic math problem:
Problem: x + 9 = 18 - 2x
My Brain: I haven't had Corn Flakes in a long time.
See? It's like it doesn't even try. If numbers are involved, my brain pretty much shuts down and starts playing elevator music. Perhaps if I had been offered pizza like Chris' class I would have done better, but I doubt it. At least Chris had some outside help from his mother and grandmother. I also had outside help from a tutor, but despite her efforts, she just couldn't get through to me.
(S02E20) Up to this point, we've seen how his upbringing, home life, and troubles at school helped to shape Chris' worldview, but this is the first episode where we caught a glimpse of what made Chris want to be a comedian.
Since this series is a somewhat fictional take on Chris' life as a kid, we don't know if the real Chris Rock sneaked downstairs to eavesdrop on his parents listening to Redd Foxx albums, but one assumes young Chris was probably exposed to the legendary comedian at some point, not to mention the likes of Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and George Carlin.
(S02E19) You can watch the episode here if you missed it.
I've never really gambled, as that whole concept is a little too complex for me. My brain just isn't wired to keep track of money, statistics, and all those other things needed to gamble successfully.
In Chris' neighborhood, everyone gambles, whether it be on sports or on which kid happens to be your real son. Chris also gets sucked into helping his boss, Doc, bet on sports when it's discovered that Chris knows a lot about the sports teams, even if he himself is a terrible athlete.
(S02E18) This wasn't the funniest episode of Everybody Hates Chris, but I did like how it explored the dynamic between Chris and his father.
Kurt Vonnegut once told McSweeneys that a male writer should never write about his father: "you learn about life by the accidents you have, over and over again, and your father is always in your head when that stuff happens."
(S02E17) Remember when I said I couldn't review this show anymore? Well, I have the CW again, so it's all good. Hopefully it won't be removed from my cable again.
My love for this show may have just increased ten fold. This episode was not only well-written and well-acted as usual, but it actually contained a reference to Night of the Lepus, probably the best movie ever made about gigantic killer bunnies. I'm not sure I believe Chris' real father actually had an irrational fear of rabbits, but it provided a nice B story about how willing Julius is to be there for his kids, even if it means passing out at a magic show.
My reviews of Everybody Hates Chris didn't garner many responses, though that never bothered me much. It's a smart and funny show and I was happy to write about it every week, even if it didn't get the recognition shared by your Ugly Bettys, My Name is Earls and other comedies from the big networks.
Unfortunately, I have to stop reviewing the show, because we're not allowed to write about black people on this blog -- I'm kidding! Really, that was a joke. Actually, the honest to goodness reason I can't write about Everybody Hates Chris is that the CW has been removed from my cable lineup because of some corporate nonsense I don't fully understand, nor do I plan to understand it because I only care about the shows themselves, not whatever bureaucratic B.S. is keeping the CW off my TV.
(S02E16) One of the things I like so much about Everybody Hates Chris is that, at least on some levels, I can relate to what Chris goes through: I know what it was to grow up with not a lot of money, and I also know what it was like being one of the unpopular kids in school.
Of course, there are some things about young Chris' life I can't really relate to, such as living in a rough neighborhood. Gold chains have become popular in Chris' neighborhood, and so has "chain snatching," the art of ripping someone's gold chain right off their neck. Malvo returns in this episode, and when he tries to steal a chain from Vanessa (Jackee Harry), Chris warns her. Malvo, a career criminal, is none too happy about it and tells Chris to get him a gold chain by tomorrow.
(S02E15) I never skipped school when I was young, mostly because I was a good kid, but also because I attended school in a small town and it was likely that if I skipped, someone would notice.
In this episode, Chris and Greg skip school to see Ghostbusters, which is understandable since that movie was a huge phenomenon when it came out. We all had the shirts and the Ghostbusters Trapper Keepers and that ubiquitous theme song running through our heads incessantly. I think some teachers would actually yell at us if didn't skip school to go see it: "why the hell are you kids in class? Get out right now and go see Ghostbusters, it's one of the defining movies of this decade, damn it!"
(S02E12) In this review I mentioned that the character of Ms. Morello seemed to be switching from a dimwitted woman misinformed about black culture to your basic run-of-the-mill racist, and in this episode she wasn't much better, returning to a trip from Africa with a tiny bone for Chris he could put in his nose.
Now, if that's merely a choice on the part of the writers to have Ms. Morello completely oblivious to her own actions as a means of comic relief, that's their prerogative, but what I loved about her character from the early episodes is how she demonstrated that not all racism is blatant: sometimes you can have what seems like the best of intentions and still be completely wrong in your approach. Now, she's just another idiot.
This is a public service announcement to Jason Alexander.
Life after Seinfeld has been really tough for you has it? I mean not as tough as Michael Richards who should follow Isaiah Washington into "pottymouth rehab", but you haven't exactly parlayed your existence into other gigs like Julia Louis-Dreyfus in The New Adventures of Old Christine. Our enthusiasm for the dimwitted loveable man has been curbed towards Larry David, who helped you become a star. Even the virtually unknown Seinfeld writer Spike Feresten has been able to translate writing his soup nazi episode into his own talk show.
All you have to work with is your short lived marriage to Britney Spears. Oh wait. That wasn't you either.
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