Everybody Hates Chris
(S02E15) When you get older and have to actually drive to work when the winter weather gets bad, it's easy to forget just how much you loved those days when you were a kid and didn't have to go to school. My school was always the last to close on snow days, and my father, who drove a school bus, was often already headed into work before they'd announce it.
(S02E14) I don't think this episode had as many laugh-out-loud moments as other episodes, but what really struck me was how tenacious Chris is when it comes to his social situation. Clearly, no one at his school likes him, but Chris still makes an effort to be respected and fit in.
Most of the students want nothing to do with Chris because he's black, but it's also because Chris has no interest in going along with the group-think that's prevalent in most schools. There are essentially two ways to go for any adolescent: you can take the path of least resistance and do what everyone else does, or you can forge your own path and earn the respect of your peers that way. The famous adult Chris is obviously a product of the latter, but what Everybody Hates Chris shows is how difficult it can be to constantly swim against the current.
I said there weren't as many laugh-out-loud moments, but the montage showing Chris giving a beat down to anyone who disrespected his role as hall monitor almost had me on the floor. Chris eventually learns that "fear" and "respect" aren't the same thing, but even he would have to admit that giving his antagonists a taste of justice felt pretty damn good.
As a change of pace, I asked TV know-it-all Paul Goebel to write a rebuttal to today's review. Goebel is an actor and comedian who appeared as the "TV Geek" on the short-lived Comedy Central quiz show Beat the Geeks and has appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ally McBeal, Will and Grace and other shows. He currently hosts a show at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles, and does a weekly podcast with his pal Jim Bruce called "The Paul Goebel Show." If you like TV, you should check it out. His response is after my review.
Ever since Linda Lavin helmed the CBS Schoolbreak Special "Flour Babies" in 1990, the idea of students being assigned fake babies has been spoofed numerous times. The winner for best spoof goes to the Strangers with Candy episode "A Burden's Burden" in which Jerri and her classmates are assigned actually babies. There's also the South Park episode "Follow That Egg" that manages to tackle both gay marriage and child custody battles when the kids are given eggs and told to treat them like real babies.
Hiya, kids! Schedule Boy here, nearly fully recovered after a bout of stomach virus that hit the S.B. home. Thanks for all the flowers, candy, and $100 bills.
Anyway, I just stopped by the TV Squad offices (in the palatial studios that once housed the Krofft Supershow) to let you all know about the return of a number of fan favorite shows to the prime time line-up. Most of these have not had a first-run episode since the beginning of December. So, their return is eagerly anticipated (or feared, in some cases).
It begins tonight with the return of Prison Break on FOX, Everybody Hates Chris on the CW, and Heroes on NBC. Out of all three of these Heroes is probably the most anticipated. This has been the surprise hit of the season and has already been renewed for a second by the network. Also returning to the NBC schedule tonight is the love-it-or-hate-it Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. This show seemed to pick up a bit of steam right before it took its holiday break. Here's hoping that it continues in the upcoming weeks.
The CW is now streaming full episodes of select series on its site. Right now you can watch episodes of Everybody Hates Chris, Veronica Mars, One Tree Hill, Girlfriends, Beauty and the Geek, The Game, All of Us and Supernatural. As far as I can tell, it looks like episodes are added soon after they air on television, so there are no "sneak peeks," at least not yet.
Also, for you Mac users out there, the in-browser player should work just fine. According to the site's FAQ, the player will work in Firefox, too. I'm completely useless when it comes to technology, so if I'm wrong about that, share your complaints in the comments and we'll all break into The CW headquarters together and demand they scrap this player for a better one. Also, we'll snag Kristen Bell for this cloning project I've been working on.
I encourage y'all to also check out this list of sites where you can watch full-length episodes. Note that this is a list of legitimate sites, not torrents or sites like YouTube. Of course, if you use those methods, what do I care?
I have to tell you, the CW had some pretty lively sessions today at the press tour. The session for the Pussycat Dolls series devolved into a women's lib argument as I walked into it, and both Supernatural and Hidden Palms had their moments. Most were helped along by the comic stylings of Paul McGuire, the network's head of communications, who would come to the podium usually toting a funny line or two. "Even Jean-Paul Satre was a freak in his day," he quipped after the spirited debate over use of the word in the Pussycat Dolls' hit "Don't Cha."
But not even a funny executive could hold a candle to Chris Rock.
"Producing one great episode after another, this is a show that we want viewers to associate with the CW. We couldn't be happier to bring it back for another season."
After switching days with 7th Heaven -- Chris now airs Mondays at 8 PM -- the network must have seen evidence that the show was improving, or at least a steady performer. The presence of executive producer Chris Rock probably helped.
By the way, the women are wearing white suits with green shirts, while the men are wearing green blazers, and white shirts and pants. I think the women got the better of the deal. Either way, if they serve mint juleps at the party tonight, I'll know they've taken the "green" thing too far.
Last night I had to play detective. Seriously, I was like Encyclopedia "Mother-F'n" Brown. I was all, like, solvin' shtuff.
I'll explain: I was poking through ye olde Tivo seeing if there was anything on worth recording, and I noticed it had some reruns of Everybody Hates Chris listed on VH1. That's odd, since the show airs on the CW. I hopped on my computer and went to VH1's site, but there was no mention of it at all. If you look at the schedule, it lists "VH1 Special" from 8pm to 10:30pm on Saturday, January 20. Well, that "special" is five back-to-back episodes of Everybody Hates Chris according to both my Tivo and TV Guide. If you haven't seen the show, you should check it out, as it's one of the better sitcoms on television right now.
Also, fans take note: new episodes of the series return to the CW on January 22.
(Part 5 of 5) In the winter of 2006 CBS and Warner Brothers got together to create a new 5th network . . . The CW. You read right, I said 5th network. That's probably confusing you right now since you thought there were six major broadcast networks on the air last winter: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB, UPN. Yes, that's true, but The CW was to do something unique to make it the 5th network. It was going to combine the programming of both the WB and UPN, eliminating those networks completely.
It sounded like a good idea at first. Take the best programming from both WB and UPN and put it on one network. No more jumping between the two networks to find the show you wanted to watch. No more confusion as to whether Veronica Mars was on WB or UPN. Plus, there was elimination of much of the mediocre crap that filled their weeknight schedules.
Like I said, it sounded like a good idea.
When I first typed that headline I accidentally typed "Everybody HITS Chris." Then I couldn't help but imagine a sitcom where every episode revolved around the main character being slapped around by everyone else. Sorry, I'm just really amused by my mistakes.
So anyway, Vincent Martella, who plays Chris' best friend Greg on the series, is also a musician. You can listen to one of his original songs on his MySpace page. The song, "Closest Thing to Heaven," probably won't blow the lid off popular music as we know it, but I sure as hell wasn't writing songs like that when I was his age, and the fact that he's performing his own music and not just singing some other person's songs is pretty cool. If you want to hear more of Vin Man's singing, click here for his rendition of some popular tunes. If his music doesn't quite do it for you, step outside, find the nearest junior high girl, and have her listen to it, because this music is really for them and not for you.
The album is available on iTunes.
(S02E10) I was basically a good kid, so during the Christmas season I didn't fret too much about upsetting my parents and not getting presents. I did worry about Santa, though, a fictional being I believed in slightly longer than most kids. What was interesting about this episode is that the "real" Santa is never referred to. I don't know if this was for plot convenience, or because Chris' family was more realistic about what the kids could and could not get for Christmas.
Okay, here's the deal. NBC Universal, known in the industry as NBC U (sounds like a university) is interested in producing a five-day-a-week, 30-minute version of their hit nighttime game show Deal or no Deal for syndication. They had originally wanted Arsenio Hall as host, but that deal fell through. So, NBC U executives decided to ask Deal host Howie Mandel to helm the syndication version.
Howie said no, and this has left network executives in a quandary. You see, stations have refused to commit to buying the 30-minute version of the show until a host is found. In addition, with Deal on the back-burner the fate of two additional game shows, Joker's Wild and Combination Lock, are uncertain.
NBC U can get Howie to be host of the syndicated version of Deal if they agree to his hefty asking price. Meanwhile, there are rumors that comedian Mark Curry is also being considered for host if they can't get Howie back to the table. I hope this all gets cleared up because I'd like to see a revival of Joker's Wild, especially with Arsenio Hall as host. I mean, think about it . . . 'Joker, Joker, Joker! Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo! (said with twirling fist in the air)'.
This holiday episode of Everybody Hates Chris will air on Monday, December 11 at 8 pm, but here's a little taste of what to expect. I'll have a more-detailed review up after the show airs.
It's Christmas in Brooklyn, and Chris has discovered the joy of the season, and more specifically, the joy of putting items on layaway. Over time he's been slowly paying for gifts for his family, but when he gets sick, he worries he won't be able to keep working and have the gifts paid off before Christmas. His father, who takes a job playing Santa at a department store (narrator Chris Rock points out it's more than a little odd that a black man is playing Santa Claus at a department store called "Goldsteins") gets Chris a job taking pictures of the kids. Julius, always concerned about money, tells all the kids the presents they want are too expensive.
The "Kris" in the episode title refers to guest star Richard Lewis, but I don't want to go into too much detail and ruin the episode. I will say, however, that Lewis turns in a great performance. He alone makes the episode worth watching.
(S02E09) It seems the shows I review have been somewhat light in the plot department this week. Sunday's episode of The Simpsons felt like it could have been stronger, and this most recent episode of Everybody Hates Chris centered around Chris and a pair of ugly (but lucky) socks.
(S02E08) Chris, quite rightly I believe, points out that Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays ever, because all you do the entire day is eat and sleep. Of course, that's only if you're not the one waking up with the chickens to prepare a feast for the entire family.
When I was growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house, and grandma pretty much ruled the kitchen, not because it was expected of her, but because she wanted it that way. The kitchen was her domain, and most Thanksgivings it was just her and the other women, and sometimes me because I would get bored easily and want to do something to kill time.
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