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July 29, 2014

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What to Watch: TV Picks for November 21 - 27

by Stephanie Earp, posted Nov 21st 2011 10:03AM
An Idiot Abroad - Friday November 25, 10PM ET, Discovery

If you've missed the latest collaboration between Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this is the perfect chance to get on board. Ricky (recently confirmed to return to host the Golden Globes) and Stephen send their sad sack friend Karl Pilkington out to see the world and make fun of him mercilessly as he whines and complains his way around some of the most incredible locales on our planet.

It sounds mean, and it is. But you'll only feel sorry for poor Karl -- who'd be happier at home in his flat with a cup of tea -- for a few minutes. then you'll be laughing too hard to care. This week, Karl takes the legendary Trans-Siberian Express train into China. Fans may remember Karl's feelings about the Great Wall from last season. He was, shall we say, unimpressed.

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World goes nuts because the President preempts A Charlie Brown Christmas

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 3rd 2009 1:02PM
A Charlie Brown ChristmasIt's official: President Barack Obama has officially ruined Christmas.

Pundits and TV viewers from up and down the dial are calling out President Obama for airing his big speech on the troop surge in Afghanistan and preempting ABC's airing of the classic Christmas cartoon A Charlie Brown Christmas. If this causes a move for impeachment, I may never awake from my laughter coma.

Not only was the story the top headline on yesterday morning's Drudge Report, but the pundits really jumped in to turn the President into their own personal Scrooge.

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Jane After Dark: Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1

by Jane Boursaw, posted Oct 11th 2009 10:02AM
Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1Like most people in the known universe, I grew up with Charlie Brown. In addition to watching all the TV specials, my family amassed a fairly large collection of the paperback Peanuts books and even a few nice hardcovers. Family friendly graphic novels, you might call them.

So I was pretty excited to learn that Warner Home Video was releasing a lot of the TV specials, both individually and in collections. On Oct. 20, the Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1 will hit store and cyber shelves in a 2-disc set. A nice publicist sent me an advance copy, so I'm happy to devote this week's Jane After Dark to this lovely set.

I'm always harping on all the sex and violence on TV right now -- often in shows that bill themselves as family friendly -- so it's really nice to have something you can watch with your kids that you know won't contain anything offensive or off-color. Not only that, the stories usually have a moral lesson, but they don't whack you over the head with it. It's more subtle, wrapped up in the humor and innocence of the stories and characters.

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Five small-screen teachers for whom we'd totally do our homework - VIDEOS

by Eliot Glazer, posted Mar 3rd 2009 11:02AM
hangin with mr. cooper mark curry abc tgifSome say the most important job in the world is that of a teacher. And, really, we've all been placed under the tutelage of someone who was literally paid to provide education. But yet, so often, kids find themselves inspired by - and often in worship of - these individuals, young and old alike, who can play an integral role in shaping one's childhood and, some might argue, the rest of their lives.

Of course, that isn't always the case. Teachers can also be awful monsters whom we never forget for their ability to patronize, degrade, or humiliate us, often leaving one wondering if the man or woman in question took the job merely to torture students. This, naturally, can lead a kid to fantasize about how cool it would be to fall under the instruction of one of the following actors who, despite likely not possessing any type of teaching certification in real life, would probably be a blast to spend 40-or-so minutes on a daily basis.

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TV 101: The true meaning of TV Christmas specials (OR: You're a mean one, Mr. Black)

by Jay Black, posted Dec 24th 2008 12:03PM
See, a public domain alternative to the real thing is just as good... right?If there's one universal among TV Christmas specials it's this: they all seem to want to tell you what the "true" meaning of Christmas is. There are so many specials trying to explain the true meaning of Christmas, it actually makes you wonder if the power of TV to influence has been exaggerated. I mean, you'd think after watching approximately eleventy-five billion hours of holiday programming, we'd have gotten the point already.

Perhaps the reason why America continues to view Christmas less as a time for spiritual reflection than as one for reindeer sweaters, crass consumerism, and suicide contemplation is because our Christmas specials aren't really sending the messages that they claim to be. Sure, on the surface we're told about "peace on earth and goodwill to men, blah blah blah", but there's a bubbling subtext in these specials if you only look hard enough.

I've decided to put my New Jersey state college English degree to good use and break down what Christmas specials are really saying...

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Yes, I am afflicted with "TiVo guilt"

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 2nd 2008 5:07PM
TivoIt was only a matter of time. What was once the ultimate convenience for TV fans has now been labeled as an affliction. Brad Berens of iMedia, a company that analyzes the way advances in media impact people's lives, had identified the responsibility we feel when we TiVo or DVR a show or series and then don't get around to watching it in a timely fashion as "TiVo guilt."

I can't disagree. I don't know about you, but I'm always checking my DVR list to see what's stacked up that I still have to watch. It's not that I feel like I have to watch these shows -- after all I recorded them because I want to see them -- but there is a burden attached.

According to Berens, what I'm experiencing is called "opportunity costs," and my TiVo viewing has become -- believe it or not -- homework!

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Arrested Development: The Easter eggs

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jun 13th 2008 5:38PM
Arrested DevelopmentDo not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of classic TV shows.

If you are a devoted Arrested Development fan like me, you probably watched all episodes at least five times each if not more. But have you noticed all the Easter eggs featured on the show? They take the shape of props in the background, allusions to other TV series or movies, expressions, etc. If not, you may be interested in the post below where I list some of the Easter eggs featured on the show and where to find them.

If you recently got addicted to this gem of a show, you may want to print this article out and spot the eggs the second time you watch the series. Because, let's face it, you'll want to watch it again! And again! Oh, and again!

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Coca-Cola: "Dueling Parade Balloons"

by Richard Keller, posted Feb 3rd 2008 10:09PM

Underdog and Stewie battle it out for a bottle of Coke

On a cool Thanksgiving morning old (Underdog) and new (Stewie from Family Guy) parade balloons battle it out for a inflatable bottle of Coca-Cola. As they cross the skyline of New York City fists fly and heads are butted. But, in the end, neither is the one who claims the prize. That honor goes to the honorable Charlie Brown, who seems to have finally won something in his life.

This was a cute and gentle commercial by Cola-Cola, which rarely disappoints when it comes to Super Bowl ads. I never realized that the Underdog and Stewie Thanksgiving Day balloons had such angry looks on their faces. That was an advantage in this commercial as we saw the two balloons battling it out. I enjoyed when Underdog slammed Stewie against the building. Nice job overall.

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What's on tonight: 60 Minutes, Survivor, Dexter, Xmas Movies & Specials

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 17th 2006 5:06PM
  • Charlie Brown ChristmasAt 7, CBS has a new 60 Minutes, followed by the season finale of Survivor and the reunion show.
  • ABC has A Charlie Brown Christmas at 7, followed by The Santa Clause 2.
  • NBC has a new Football Night In America at 7, then the Chiefs vs. the Chargers.
  • Also at 7: Food Network has the Nigella Bites Christmas Special, followed by Emeril's Happy Happy Holidays.
  • At 7:30, The CW has a new Reba.
  • At 8, FOX has a new Simpsons, followed by new epsisodes of American Dad and Family Guy, then a repeat Family Guy.
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version) airs on ABC Family at 8.
  • TBS is showing National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation all night.
  • At 9, Discovery has Holiday Mythbusters.
  • Hallmark has A Boyfriend For Christmas at 9.
  • At 10, Showtime has a new Dexter.

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Charlie Brown's five worst cartoon moments

by Kevin Kelly, posted Nov 22nd 2006 8:31PM
It's a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Week! Charlie Brown, where have you been all these years? We've been missing you. We usually see you at the major holidays, like Christmas and Halloween, but to be honest those visits seem repetitive. What else have you been up to? Sure, you've taken some trips and had some valentines and such, but we've come to expect more Charlie Brown, and quite frankly, we need you these days. Please think about giving us Charlie Brown's Democratic Presidential Election, or something equally topical and timely.

10 Zen Monkeys has compiled a list of Charlie Brown's five worst cartoon moments. Check it out on their site which comes complete with YouTube embedded video and spot-on commentary. Continue onto see my thoughts about the list:

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Fine Living celebrates 40th anniversary of The Great Pumpkin

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 24th 2006 8:09AM

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie BrownI am older than It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

One year older, to be exact. The classic Halloween TV special marks its 40th anniversary this year, and Fine Living Network is celebrating with several TV and web specials and features. On TV, you can watch a special one hour episode of We Live Here titled We Live Here - In Fear, which will explore three haunted cities around the country: Savannah, Georgia, St. Augustine, Florida, and Memphis, Tennessee. The special will air several times until November 1. Online, you can watch a new reading of the classic Peanuts story by Top 40 icon Rick Dees. And to make your Halloween complete, you can download a wav file of spooky Halloween sounds.

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Family Guy: Mother Tucker

by Brett Love, posted Sep 18th 2006 11:04AM
Family Guy - Veronica Mars(S05E02) And we're back, with what was, at best, an ok episode. Was it just me or did it seem like a lot of the cut away gags just didn't work this week? We open episode two at the air show with the citizens of Quahog anxiously hoping for a plane crash. When that doesn't happen, someone runs up and stabs the pilot, to cheers from the crowd. Then Quagmire appears in his plane, The French Tickler, and proceeds to crash through the crotch of Veronica Mars and Paris Hilton on billboards. He dodges the Greta Van Sustren billboard until he can crash through a Jack Daniels one first.

As they are leaving, they realize that Stewie is lost. After Peter goes through a dull lineup flashback we go to Brian searching for Stewie. He's stopped at the booth of the local morning zoo radio show. While I agree with the idea that most morning zoo shows are overproduced to the point of annoying, playing those overly long radio intros again and again wasn't funny. But they did set up for a later point. Anyway, while using the PA, Brian is discovered by the PD of the radio station.

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The Peanuts gang gets violent

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 17th 2006 11:58AM

charlie brown and snoopyI'm a huge admirer of Peanuts, both the comic strip and the television specials, but I also love to see them satirized. Mad Magazine always had funny parodies of the Peanuts gang, usually having them behave more "adult" than they did at the hand of Charles Schulz. The Simpsons also poked fun at Charlie Brown and his friends on more than one occasion. Matt Groening is actually a Peanuts fan, too, which always seemed to make those moments even funnier.

If you're wondering what Peanuts would be like if the gang had weapons and an insatiable urge to maim and kill one another, I invite you to check out "Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown." This is an old student film from Cal Arts, and I noticed that the name "Jeff Pidgeon" appears in the credits, which is also the name of someone who works at Pixar. I don't think it's a coincidence, but I sent Jeff an e-mail for verification and I'll update this post when I get confirmation, though I'm ninety-nine percent sure it is him. Also, somebody contacted Boing Boing, where I found this video, to inform them that the names of two Simpsons directors, Jim Reardon and Rich Moore, also appear in the credits.

Update: I received a message from Jeff Pidgeon, confirming his involvement with the project: "It is! Jim and I went to school together. I did the wah-wah voice of the Great Pumpkin."

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